Tag Archives: food

Goat Cheese Polenta with Turkey & Vegetable Ragout

Goat Cheese Polenta with Turkey & Veggie Ragu

This dish is pure comfort food if you ask me. It’s hearty enough for a cold winter’s night, but still light enough to be a great transitional meal when spring hasn’t quite decided if it wants to be hot or cold yet. The meat and vegetables make it both filling and nutritious. You will get a lot of leftovers out of this recipes, which is a plus in my book. I also thought that the ragout tasted even better then next day.

Polenta is not everyone’s favorite food, but I happen to really like it. I think it makes a great base for a meal and keeps amazingly well for leftovers. You can top it with just about anything. I really like making my polenta with added goat cheese. It gives it both a creamy and tangy bite that I think goes really well with tomato based sauces.

Goat Cheese Polenta with Turkey & Veggie Ragout

Ingredients

    For the Turkey Ragout:
  • 1 1/4 pound extra-lean ground turkey
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (14 1/2) ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 large red sweet pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • For the Polenta:
  • 1 cup quick-cooking/instant polenta
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, slightly crumbled
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For Serving (optional):
  • Pesto
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, cook ground beef until brown. Drain off any extra fat.
  2. In the same skillet, heat olive oil. When heated add onions and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add in carrots, zucchini and garlic, along with undrained tomatoes, broth and salt and pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on low-heat until all the vegetables are cooked through and tomato and broth have slightly thickened.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare polenta according to package directions. I recommend using low-sodium vegetable broth for extra flavor. When polenta is almost cooked through, stir in goat cheese and butter.
  5. Spoon polenta into individual serving bowls and top with ragout mixture over polenta. Top individual bowls with pesto and garnish with basil and freshly ground pepper.

Notes

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Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing

haloumi salad with caramelised onion dressing

Oh, haloumi, how I love you! Let me count the ways!  I really, really love haloumi. I also really, really love caramelized onions and tomatoes and arugula. I basically just really, really love this salad. There is something about the salty (and squeaky) haloumi and the kind of sweet, kind of not caramelized onion dressing that just makes for the most amazing flavor combination. The peppery arugula was also a flavorful addition that worked really well with the rest of the ingredients.

I’m not going to lie, making the dressing is going to take you a bit of time. To get really delicious, rich, sweet caramelized onions, you are going to need about an hour. Don’t believe anyone that says it will only 10 to 20 minutes, that’s a lie. And don’t believe anyone that says you can add sugar to caramelize them, that’s just gross. (I am very passionate when it comes to caramelized onions and these two points, if you couldn’t tell….) The onions will get naturally sweet and it is definitely worth the effort, you just need to give them time. You can definitely blend the onion dressing in a food processor if you prefer a more vinaigrette-like dressing. I left the onions un-blended (more like a chutney almost) because I felt it would make for a heartier salad.

haloumi salad with caramelised onion dressing

Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing

2 salads

Adapted from Donna Hay.

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 block of halloumi, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 bag of salad greens (I used arugula)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

    For the Dressing:
  1. Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions when oil begins to shimmer. Let onions sit for 10 minutes and sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat low and continue to stir onions every 10 minutes until they are a rich, caramelized brown. It's going to take about 1 hour, give or take 10-20 minutes either side.
  2. When onions are caramelized place in bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust flavors and spice to your taste. If you prefer a smoother dressing this can be done in a food processor.
  3. For the Salad:
  4. Wash and prepare lettuce and tomatoes. Divide between two plates
  5. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat (you can reuse the same pan you caramelized your onions in). Once oil is hot add haloumi slices and cook until starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the haloumi and repeat on the other side.
  6. Top tomatoes with halloumi, then add the onion dressing and freshly ground pepper.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
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Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip

Jalapeño Ranch Dip

So apparently this March Madness business is finally coming to an end this weekend. Finally. I used to care about sports, but now I am more or less completely apathetic (with one exception). I think this is partially due to the false advertising of surrounding professional and college athletics in America. “March” Madness. We are now a week into April. Stop encroaching on a perfectly innocent month NCAA. However, I will consent to watching sporting events mainly because they allow for drinking at otherwise inappropriate hours of the day and snack foods, both of which I am a fan of.

Creamy ranch, a little kick from the jalapeños, tangy lime. It’s pretty much perfect  the perfect dip in my book. I used mild jalapeños and mild green salsa, and while I did increase the amounts from the recipe I based my dip on, I didn’t find the jalapeño flavor or spiciness to be overwhelming at all. If you are a little more hesitant about spicy, you might want to cut back on the jalapeños and salsa and add to taste.

Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip

Recipe adapted from Capturing Joy.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup tomatillo salsa (or any green salsa)
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 5 Tablespoons ranch powder (or 1.5 packets)
  • 1/2 cup pickled jalapeños
  • 2 limes, juiced

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached (I left mine a little chunky). Add more lime juice if dip is too thick
  2. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips and veggies and enjoy!
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Gluten Free Runza (or Bierock)

Gluten Free Runza

I am currently enjoying the wonders of Omaha, Nebraska! Whenever I go on a trip somewhere new I like to see what there is to do there and what kinds of food the area is famous for. Before this trip I had only ever hear of Omaha Steaks (which are delicious), but there are all sorts of other culinary delights that are famous in Omaha. Yesterday I shared a gluten-free Reuben salad, which was my take on the famous Reuben sandwich that originated in Omaha. Today I made something that I had never heard of before! A runza!

A runza, which is sometimes called a bierock, came to the Midwest with the German, Russian and Eastern European immigrants that settled there. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the runzas I made. They were delicious. I am partial to Eastern European food, so cabbage, onion and meat can’t really be bad in my book. With the addition of some spices and extra-lean ground turkey (they are traditionally made with ground beef or pork, but that’s not my style) to light it up a little, the end result was a perfect hand held sandwich. If I was the make runzas again (which I just might, because I think they would freeze and keep really well) I would probably add some grainy dijon to the cabbage mix. The flavor was good, but I think mustard would make it perfect. I was a bit short on time this week, so I cheated and rolled out some Chebe dough for my crust, which worked perfectly. I was able to get 8 big runza out of one bread mix. I ended up with a lot of left over cabbage and meat, so next time I might try to make mini ones instead.

Gluten Free Runza

Gluten Free Runza or Bierock

Ingredients

    For the Filling:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/4 pounds extra-lean ground turkey
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • onion powder, to taste
  • smoked paprika, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage shredded (or a bag of cole slaw mix)
  • For the dough:
  • 1 box of Chebe bread mix, or dough recipe of choice

Instructions

    For the Filling:
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan. When heated add onion and cook until well browned and starting to caramelize. Add turkey and break apart to cook. Add spices and brown the meat.
  2. Add the cabbage and cover pan with lid slightly off to allow steam to escape. Remove lid when cabbage is almost completely cooked and allow excess moisture to evaporate.
  3. When cabbage and meat are both cooked through, remove pan from heat and allow filling to cool slightly.
  4. For the Dough:
  5. Follow instructions on box and when dough is mixed, roll out on flat, well floured surface.
  6. Cut the dough in to 8 pieces that you will be able to fold it into a rectangle.
  7. Place filling in center of each piece and fold together into a rectangle
  8. For the Runzas:
  9. Heat oven to 375. Place folded runzas on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Serve and enjoy!
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Gluten Free Reuben Salad

Reuben Salad

Well, I am off on a trip today and I’m quite excited about it. Most might associate the Reuben Sandwich with New York City, but according to the internet, the Reuben originated in the wonderful city of Omaha, Nebraska, which is where I am off to! One of my best friends moved to Omaha last year and since I am always up for an adventure, I decided Nebraska would be the perfect spot for my spring break!

One of my favorite things about traveling, is trying the local cuisine and specialties. I am fairly certain I have never actually had a Reuben sandwich and since Rye bread is not gluten-free, I probably never will, but luckily you won’t even miss the bread in this salad. I was actually kind of surprised by how well this salad turned out. I was a bit wary of adding sauerkraut to a salad, but in the end I think it was my favorite part. I made my own Russian dressing as well and while it was very tasty, on its own it turned out a bit sweet for my taste. With the salad however, it did go quite well with the sauerkraut and pickles. Due to my prolong stint living in Eastern Europe, I have to absolutely love anything pickled and dill pickles and sauerkraut are two of my favorite foods. If you aren’t so big on those, this might not be the salad for you, but if you love a good Reuben sandwich this will be right up your alley.

Reuben Salad

Reuben Salad

Ingredients

    For the Russian Dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt (I used half and half)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • For the Salad
  • 4 large handfuls lettuce or spring greens
  • 2 Tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sauerkraut
  • 1 Tablespoon dill pickle relish (or chopped dill pickles)
  • 2 Tablespoons Russian Dressing
  • 3 ounces cooked corned beef chopped or shredded (leftover or deli meat will work)

Instructions

    For the Dressing:
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside or refrigerate until needed. Dressing can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  2. For the Salad:
  3. Add lettuce to a large serving bowl or plate. Top with the rest of the ingredients. Serve and enjoy!
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Pear, Parmesan & Prosciutto Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

Pear, Parmesan & Prosciutto Salad

No April Fool’s here! Just good food! My cousin posted the most delicious looking salad on Instagram last week and I was beyond jealous. Most of my family lives in Ireland, so with the time difference they are posting delicious looking lunches and dinners right when I wake up. Since checking Instagram is (shamefully) the first thing I do every morning, I get to start drooling over planning delicious meals right away. Luckily my cousin also mentioned the name of the restaurant in her picture and I was easily able to stalk the menu and find out more about this delicious meal. I read the description and was almost instantly in love.

Prosciutto, Pear & Parmesan Salad
Prosciutto ham, fresh rocket, toasted pine nuts,
sliced juicy pear and grated aged parmesan
with a strawberry and balsamic dressing.

I had everything on hand and set about making this bad boy right away. I took a few liberties of my own (NO pine nuts here! Yuck!) and had to imagine what the dressing might be like, but the end result was beyond anything I could have imagined. I think this the perfect type of salad for this time of year. There is a great combination of sweet winter and spring fruits, which are amazing with the salty prosciutto and the toasted almonds add a perfect crunch. And the very best part! It took less than ten minutes to put together!

Pear, Parmesan & Prosciutto Salad

Apart from switching disgusting pine nuts for almonds, I had to guess what kind of dressing was used. Personally, I am not a fan of oily or sweet vinaigrettes, so when I came across this recipe from Whole Foods, I thought it would be perfect! I added some chia seeds to the dressing for some extra nutritional value. This dressing is best made with strawberries that have been sliced for a bit (so they can get kind of sweet and syrupy in their natural juice) or strawberries that are over ripe (like the day before you might have to toss them).  Strawberries like that will be the juiciest and sweetest, which will cut the need for added sweeteners or oil.

Prosciutto, Pear & Parmesan Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 1 ripe, but firm pear, sliced (I used a Bartlett)
  • 4 large handfuls arugula/rocket
  • 3 Tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • a block of aged parmesan, for grating
  • freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
  • For the Strawberry Balsamic Dressing:
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 shallot, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chia (or poppy) seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a food processor combine all the ingredients for the dressing and mix until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Wash your arugula and place in large bowl. Add dressing and toss until well mixed (I used about 1/3 cup). Add almonds and grate parmesan to taste. Toss again.
  3. Place arugula on large serving platter, top with prosciutto and pear slices. Add salt, pepper and parmesan to taste. Serve and enjoy!
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Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

A little Monday evening aperitivo.

My girlfriend Kelly made this absolutely amazing asparagus appetizers (I love alliteration!) for our last book club meeting. They were delicious! And so simple. I made them at home for a little Monday evening aperitivo. These are definitely a great bite for a last-minute wine and cheese party and definitely worthy of sharing with guest. Next time I have a dinner party, these will be on the menu. I’m actually kind of looking for any excuse to make these again.

You can use any soft, spreadable cheese. I would avoid cream cheese, but any other soft cheese should work. I think Boursin would be amazing.

Making this appetizer into a side dish would be very easy to do. I would leave the prosciutto slice whole and wrap it around 3-5 pieces of asparagus and cook them the same way (maybe a minute or  two longer). I think it would make for a really tasty side dish, but I really like how the individual spears of asparagus and prosciutto get super crispy.

Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Wrapped Asparagus

Ingredients

  • Asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
  • Soft goat cheese, at room temperature
  • Prosciutto, each slice cut into 3 pieces

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F degrees.
  2. Spread the goat cheese on each slice of prosciutto.
  3. Wrap each asparagus spear in a 1/3 slice of prosciutto and goat cheese.
  4. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until warm and starting to crisp.
  5. Serve and become the hit of the party!
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Fromage Fort

Hi Fromage Fort, I'm your newest fan. #cheeseoverload

I doesn’t look like much, but I cannot even begin to put into words how amazing this is. Amazing! That’s all I can say. I was faced with the awkward situation of having a whole bunch of cheese, but not enough to make a legitimate cheese plate. You know that awkward spot where you’ve had a wine and cheese night and there is some cheese leftover, but not really anything worthwhile. It’s always a dark day. There are just tiny bits of that, something with a bit of a rind, some soft stuff that was kind of sad looking, a tad of blue begging to find a second chance. I poked around the internet for a bit and thanks to the magic of Google, I discovered the most glorious way to  save the cheese! Fromage Fort! You can’t really go wrong with the combination of cheese. I used some blue, Boursin, goat, brie and parm. Delicious.

Serving wise, baguette, crackers, even some crudités would be great to serve with this. I used toasted gluten-free bread. If I had been by myself, I probably would have just used a spoon.

Final word of advice, get on this. Stat!

Fromage Fort

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mix leftover cheese, harder cheeses grated, softer ones cut into chunks
  • A couple pats of butter, if using mostly firm cheese varieties
  • 1-3 small clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 cup leftover white wine
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary or chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Blend cheese, butter (if using) and garlic in food processer until combined. Drizzle in wine with the motor running until you get your desired consistency — some like it completely smooth, others prefer chunks. Add herbs, pulsing the machine until just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Fromage fort can be used right away, or kept in the fridge until needed. In the fridge, it will thicken and age a little; the flavors will mingle and deepen. Let sit out for a few minutes to slight soften and make serving easier.
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