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Entertaining with Ease: Holiday Brunch Strata w/ Ham, Spinach and Cheese

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Baking, Breads, Breakfast, Breakfast Food, Cheese, Comfort Food, Eggs, Fall Recipes, Holiday, Holiday Recipes, One-Pot Dishes, Savory Dishes, Southern/Soul Food, Special Occasion, Thanksgiving Recipes, Uncategorized, Veggies, Winter Recipes | 0 comments

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Holiday Brunch Strata Hero1

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and that means plenty of parties, get-togethers and entertaining with family and friends which is why this is my favorite time of year! I always love to get together with friends and family and have a holiday brunch where we all bring a lovely dish, and sit around the table eating, drinking and talking for hours as we catch up on each other’s lives and laugh a little. That’s what the holidays are all about in my opinion. Sharing, laughing, loving, eating and drinking.

Holiday Brunch Strata Ingredients

One of my favorite things to make for brunch is a Holiday Strata, a delicious breakfast casserole, made with bread, milk, cheese, eggs, ham or bacon, and some fresh sautéed veggies all baked in to a big pot of goodness. It’s rich, creamy, hearty and incredibly delicious, a savory bread pudding, if you will – and a great way to use some of your leftover holiday ham, veggies and cheese! It goes great with a green salad, some fresh fruit and mimosas (and of course lots of coffee, tea and holiday pastries on the side!)

KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer Shot3

This recipe is really easy to make, especially with my amazing KitchenAid® Artisan® Series Stand Mixer. The best part about making a Strata is that you just throw all the wet ingredients and spices in the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk it all together on low speed for a few minutes to beat the eggs, milk and cheese together. Then you layer all the ingredients in the casserole dish the night before, allowing the bread to soak up all the luscious custard and flavors overnight, and then you just pop it in the oven and bake it in the morning. (And maybe even get to sleep in a little or go back to bed while it’s cooking!)

Holiday Brunch Strata Hero2

I used a baked white loaf for the bread, but you could also use whole wheat or even Challah bread for a touch of sweetness. You can also substitute crumbled sausage, bacon or pancetta for the ham, and experiment with using some different cheeses if you like (I used shredded mozzarella, but any cheese that melts well like a Gruyere, Swiss or Cheddar will work great). You can also substitute broccoli instead of spinach, or throw in some colorful peppers to add some extra color – the possibilities are endless, and all tasty using the same base recipe I created.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE AND STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG BY KITCHENAID!

Other Brunch Casserole and Strata recipes you might enjoy:

Martha Stewart’s Fontina, Speck and Onion Strata

House Beautiful’s Strata Recipe

Southern Living’s Brie and Veggie Breakfast Strata

Taste of Home’s Brunch Strata Recipe

Williams-Sonoma Bagel Strata with Sausage and Spring Vegetables

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A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Side: Fall Harvest Galette w/ Maple Sweet Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, Bacon & Gruyere

Posted by on Nov 23, 2014 in Baking, Cheese, Comfort Food, Entrees, Fall Recipes, Holiday, Holiday Recipes, Pies and Tarts, Savory Dishes, Side Dishes, Special Occasion, Thanksgiving Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetable Dishes, Winter Recipes | 0 comments

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FallGalette1

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year, simply because it’s a time to spend with friends and family and a great excuse to gather around the table and celebrate our blessings with some delicious bountiful food!

Whenever I go home to cook with my family, my mom takes care of the turkey and dressing, my sister makes a dessert, and I am in charge of making all the delicious side dishes. We normally make the usual green bean or broccoli casserole, squash, Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, and have enough food to feed the entire neighborhood!

KA-Mixer

I recently got a gorgeous new KitchenAid® Artisan® Series Stand Mixer and decided I wanted to use it to make a non-traditional Thanksgiving side dish this year. The Stand Mixer comes in 30 vibrant colors (I got Grape – my favorite) and makes cooking for the holidays so much easier, especially when it comes to making pie, tart dough and sauces. It comes fitted with a ceramic flat beater, dough hook and a wire whisk, has 10 speeds, and also has a plastic one-piece pouring shield to help keep ingredients in place when you’re mixing. And I also got the new KitchenAid® Ceramic Bowl in white to replace the metal one, which is a great accompaniment. The KitchenAid® Stand Mixer also has plenty of cool attachments that are available including food grinders, ice cream and pasta makers, juicers and more!

Fall_Galette

Using my new KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, I decided to make a beautiful Fall Harvest Galette, with roasted maple sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, crispy bacon, sage and Gruyere cheese. The pastry dough was made in my Stand Mixer in less than 10 minutes and came out perfectly. The galette has the delicious warm flavors of fall and it’s a lovely addition to the Thanksgiving table as a colorful, healthy side dish that will blow that green bean casserole away.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL POST WITH THE RECIPE AND MORE PHOTOS ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG!

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Savory Herb and Cheese Scone Calzones with Sausage, Veggies & Cheese on the KitchenAid blog!

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in Baking, Cheese, Comfort Food, Entrees, Fall Recipes, Food and Cooking How-To's, Food Styling & Photography, Italian, Italian Dishes, Italian Food, Product Reviews, Sauces, Savory Dishes, Things I Love, Uncategorized, Veggies, Winter Recipes | 0 comments

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KA_Blog_SconeCalzone

 

Baked calzones are one of my favorite Italian dishes to make when I want an alternative to pizza or pasta. Calzones are savory turnovers filled with meat, veggies and cheese, baked into little pockets of tasty goodness, served with a side of fresh tomato sauce for dipping.

For a recent KitchenAid recipe challenge for the Kitchenthusiast blog, I made some delicious Savory Veggie and Cheese Scones Filled with More Cheese & Meat – stuffed, baked calzones, but made with an herb and cheese scone dough that is light and buttery and super tasty.

They are filled with tons of fresh veggies: tricolor peppers, onions, garlic and spinach with a little spicy Italian sausage and more cheese inside.

 

KitchenAid Food ProcessorI made the scone dough with my new KitchenAid 11-cup Food Processor that I absolutely love – it does everything from making the dough, to chopping the veggies to shredding the cheese and making the homemade fresh tomato marinara sauce!

 

Check out the blog post and get the recipe and more photos here!

 

Scone Calzones

 

Scone Calzones

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Rotelle with Sausage, Peppers, Spinach and Ricotta w/ Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Cheese, Comfort Food, Entrees, Fall Recipes, Healthy Cooking, Italian, Italian Dishes, Italian Food, Pasta, Pork, Sauces, Savory Dishes, Uncategorized, Winter Recipes | 0 comments

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Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

So it’s finally beginning to feel like Fall around here in the Big Apple. The temperatures have dropped into the low 50s and it’s been raining like crazy for days. Enough to make you feel a little bit down, but also the crisp air, wet leaves and grey skies kind of make me feel nostalgic and excited for the holidays coming ahead. (November is also my birthday month so celebrations are in order in a couple of weeks!)

Also this dampening weather is a great excuse to make some homey comfort food, curl up under a blanket and read a good book! I absolutely love Italian food and usually get a craving for Rigatoni Bolognese or Lasagna on chilly days like these. I thought I would do something a little different and make some yummy pasta with spicy Italian Pork Sausage, some bright and colorful peppers, a few handfuls of healthy iron-rich spinach, and a homemade marinara sauce with fresh basil, topping the pasta dish off with some fresh ricotta and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and red pepper to give it some extra zing (yes, I do like my food on the spicy side!)

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

It’s really an easy dish to prepare and after making my own sauce I can definitely tell a difference from store-bought pasta sauce, which this one puts to shame on all fronts! I bought some Campari Italian tomatoes that are sweet and little and absolutely adorable (I got them at Fairway on 2nd Ave but I’m sure you can find them at other grocery stores). And the homemade sauce is soooo good with the spicy sausage, savory sautéed peppers, onions, spinach and garlic! (And hey, a little bit healthier than a fattening super cheesy-baked pasta dish I normally crave!)

The fresh ricotta and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese give it a creamy, tangy contrast to the spicy, savory flavors in the dish. All you need is some crusty bread and a nice medium-bodied Italian wine such as Nero d”Avola (from Sicily and a bit fruity and herby), Barbera (from Veneto with hints of black cherry and licorice) or a Bonarda (from Northern Italy with hints of black fruits, violet and black pepper). If you prefer white wine, go for a Pinot Grigio or even a Riesling which is a little sweeter and a good balance for the hearty, spicy flavors in the pasta.

Buon Appetito!

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

Rotelle with Sausage, Peppers, Spinach and Ricotta with Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

I absolutely love Italian food and usually get a craving for Rigatoni Bolognese or Lasagna on chilly days like these. I thought I would do something a little different and make some yummy pasta with some spicy Italian sausage, some bright and colorful peppers, some healthy iron-rich spinach and to top it off, make my own fresh marinara sauce with some fresh basil, topping the pasta dish off with some fresh ricotta and grated Parmesan cheese and some red pepper to give it some extra zing (yes, I do like my food on the spicy side!)

Ingredients

  • Fresh Basil Marinara Sauce
  • 3 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits
  • 1 pound Rotelle pasta (or sub Gemelli, Gigli, Fusilli or Festonati)
  • Sausage, Peppers and Spinach:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ pound ground pork sausage (spicy or sweet, you choose)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • ½ orange pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • A few fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Ricotta and Parmesan Cheese:
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1/4 cup grated)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • A small handful of minced chives, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the Sauce:
  2. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, and shock in ice water. Peel the tomatoes and cut in half, and de-seed. Place the tomatoes and sea salt into the large work bowl of a food processor and pulse on medium speed until tomatoes are finely pureed. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for a few minutes, then add the tomato puree and cook for about 25-30 minutes at a steady simmer (lower heat if it starts boiling), stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and cooked through. Add in the fresh torn basil and remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Note: If making the sauce ahead of time, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  5. Cook the pasta:
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for about 10-12 minutes until al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add fresh marinara sauce and toss to combine; throw in a little extra grated Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  7. Make the sausage, peppers and spinach:
  8. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.
  9. Add onion and bell peppers to the bowl of your food processor and pulse at medium speed until chopped into a small dice.
  10. Heat olive oil in the sauté pan, add garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 1 minute on medium-low heat until lightly golden. Increase heat to medium high, add sausage and cook until well browned and no longer pink. Drain the cooked sausage mixture on paper towels and place in a large mixing bowl.
  11. Heat additional tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onions and peppers until soft and onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add baby spinach and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted. Place the cooked veggies into the bowl along with cooked sausage mixture, add salt and pepper, fresh basil and stir together. Set aside to cool.
  12. Prepare the ricotta and Parmesan cheese:
  13. Stir together ricotta, salt, pepper and shredded cheese and stir to combine, reserving some of the grated Parmesan for garnish.
  14. Scoop some of the pasta and marinara sauce into bowls. Top with Sausage, Peppers and Spinach mixture and stir to combine. Top the pasta with a few dollops of the Ricotta-Parmesan mixture, minced chives and additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  15. Serve with some crusty Italian bread, a green salad and a medium to full bodied red Italian wine such as Nero d”Avola, Barbera or a Valpolicella blend.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/10/23/rotelle-sausage-peppers-spinach-ricotta-fresh-basil-marinara-sauce/

Sausage Pepper Spinach Pasta

 

Click here to see a great pasta and sauce pairing chart at Chow.com

Click here to see a cool chart to selecting Italian Red wines at WineFolly.com

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Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro Bake

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Baking, Cheese, Chicken, Comfort Food, Entrees, Fall Recipes, Healthy Cooking, Italian, Italian Dishes, Italian Food, One-Pot Dishes, Rice/Risotto/Orzo, Savory Dishes, Uncategorized, Veggies, Winter Recipes | 0 comments

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Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

 

Fall is here and all of a sudden the craving sets in – Comfort. Food. I love chicken casseroles with veggies and pasta and all that naughty creamy goodness. But I’ve been trying to cut down on sugar and white carbs lately so I thought I would make a healthier version of a chicken casserole to keep it light but satisfy my craving for a baked pot of goodness.

Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

I used an Italian Farro that I had on hand with Porcini mushrooms, and mixed in some sautéed zucchini, garlic and minced onions with a lovely Basil olive oil I have from 7Barrels.com that gives a fresh, herby flavor to go with the nuttiness of the farro. Farro is an organic semi-pearled whole grain that cooks easily and is great in place of white rice or pasta in casseroles. The good news is it’s high in protein and fiber and also low gluten and has a low glycemic index too (plus it’s super tasty too!).

Toasted Farro

First I sautéed some garlic and dried onion in the olive oil and then added the farro to toast it slightly to bring out the nutty warm flavors before adding the water and Sazon seasoning to cook the farro until plump and slightly chewy.

Sauteed Zucchini

Then I sautéed the zucchini with more Basil olive oil and garlic until it was lightly browned.

Seasoned Chicken Breast

Next I sautéed some seasoned chicken breast in brown butter, and mixed the farro and zucchini mixture together with some grated Parmesan cheese.

Prepare the Casserole

After the chicken was lightly browned, I topped the farro and zucchini with the chicken breasts and drizzled a little bit of the brown butter on top and popped it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the casserole was baked through.

Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

For finishing touches, I sprinkled some dried thyme, Wild Mushroom crystal sea salt, and some red pepper flakes on top.

Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

The flavors are absolutely spectacular and it’s a healthy alternative to fat-laden creamy casseroles we’re use to. All it needs is a lovely dry white Italian wine (like a Pinot Grigio) to go with it and you’ve got a happy, Fall day. Enjoy.

Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro Bake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Porcini Mushroom Farro:
  • 1 tablespoon Basil Olive Oil (7 Barrels)
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced dried onion
  • 1 9.1 oz package Tuscan Fields® Farro Ai Funghi
  • 1 small packet of Sazon seasoning
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • Sautéed Zucchini:
  • 2 large zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into half moons
  • 2 tablespoons Basil Olive Oil (7Barrels)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Sautéed chicken:
  • 3 large chicken breasts (approx. 1.75-2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt or poultry seasoning (Instant Gourmet Original)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Wild Mushroom crystal sea salt flakes (FalkSalt), for garnish
  • ½ tablespoon dried thyme, for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Mushroom Farro:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven and sauté the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add the minced dried onion and farro, and sauté for another 3-5 minutes to toast the farro.
  4. Add water and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook farro for about 18-20 minutes until farro is plump and slightly chewy.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Prepare the Zucchini:
  7. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and sauté garlic for one minute (be careful not to burn). Add zucchini and sauté for another 5-7 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. Saute the Chicken:
  9. Thoroughly wash and pat dry chicken breasts, rub seasoning well on both sides of the chicken.
  10. Reheat the large sauté pan over medium high heat, add butter and let melt and get slightly brown.
  11. Add chicken breasts and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes total, turning once, until chicken is lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  12. Prepare the casserole:
  13. Place the cooked farro and zucchini in a ceramic casserole. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese into the mixture and stir together well.
  14. Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the farro-zucchini-Parmesan mixture and drizzle some of the browned butter on top.
  15. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes until chicken is no longer pink and cooked through.
  16. Garnish with Wild Mushroom crystal sea salt, dried thyme and red pepper flakes, and additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve hot, with a green salad and a light, dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/10/16/chicken-zucchini-wild-mushroom-farro-bake/

Chicken Zucchini Wild Mushroom Farro

 

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King Crab BLT’s + a Gorgeous New Candy Red Toaster | KitchenAid Blog

Posted by on Jul 26, 2014 in BBQ, Entrees, Food and Cooking How-To's, Food Styling & Photography, Gourmet Food and Drinks, Healthy Cooking, Product Reviews, Sauces, Savory Dishes, Seafood, Seafood Recipes, Special Occasion, Summer Recipes, Things I Love, Uncategorized | 0 comments

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Crown the BLT for KitchenAid

Crown the BLT for KitchenAid

There’s nothing I love to eat more in the summer than some fresh seafood to enjoy with friends for a backyard BBQ, picnic or beach party. Everyone loves Lobster Rolls, but they can get a little pricey, and take a lot of work to make enough for a crowd. If you’re in the mood for seafood, Alaskan King Crab BLT sandwiches are a fresh, healthy and less expensive alternative, and a fun addition to your next outdoor BBQ party or picnic. And, they’re a breeze to make with the help of the new KitchenAid Pro Line® Series 4-Slice Automatic Toaster.

KitchenAid Toaster

KitchenAid Toaster

This gorgeous candy apple red beauty is a new product in the KitchenAid’s Pro Line® Series engineered and designed for culinary pros (and is no ordinary toaster at that!) It’s not only a beautiful addition to your kitchen appliance collection, but also smart as a whip with plenty of options to make the perfect piece of toast in a snap. And it even comes in three sleek colors to choose from: black, white or red. Isn’t it pretty?

King Crab BLT

King Crab BLT

These delicious Crab BLT’s are made with fresh lump Alaskan King crab meat (you can find it in your local grocery market in the seafood section or buy it fresh from a seafood market). They have tons of flavor from all the fresh veggies and herbs inside: minced red bell peppers, jalapenos, fresh cilantro, scallions and chives. For some extra kick, I add a dash of spicy Sriracha (hot chile pepper sauce), a little bit of mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice and capers, and a few breadcrumbs to bind them all together. Simply make the crab cakes by patting them into medium size patties, then coat them in some Japanese Panko breadcrumbs and lightly fry them to perfection in some oil and drain. Rest the crab cakes on a gorgeous bed of lettuce and juicy tomatoes, garnished with crispy bacon and a light and refreshing coleslaw for crunch. The crowning touch is a homemade Sesame-Sriracha Mayo on a beautifully toasted  (or grilled) sesame hard roll. Let the fun begin!

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE & LEARN MORE ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG

 

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