Monday, June 27, 2011

Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells

This is the best meal I have ever cooked in my life.  This is a date night or Sunday night dinner that you will never forget.  I made my own ricotta during the morning (from Smitten Kitchen, SO EASY! and then stuffed the shells with a combo of the ricotta and some farmer's market spinach.  Serve this with a glass of your favorite red wine and you will have a meal of a lifetime.

Serves 2


12-15 pasta shells
1 1/3 cup of ricotta (please, please do the homemade version!)
4 cups of chopped spinach leaves
zest of a lemon
1/2 cup plain tomato sauce
parmesan cheese

1. Set a pot of water on the stove to boil and preheat oven to 375
2. When water is boiling add pasta shells
3. Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat and add spinach to the pan when oil is hot
4. Saute spinach about 5 minutes until cooked down.  Remove from heat and add zest from one lemon.
5. In the cooled down saute pan, add a thin layer of tomato sauce to cover the bottom of the pan
6. Mix ricotta and spinach in a bowl and add salt/pepper to taste
7. Drain shells and run cool water over them
8. Stuff each shell with a spoonful or so of ricotta mixture.
9. Put each shell in the saute pan and repeat until all shells are filled
10. Drizzle tomato sauce over the shells and put in the oven for 15 minutes
11. Remove from the oven and serve with a bit of shaved parmesan cheese (you also might want a salad after this meal!)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yogurt Cheese

I am convinced that plain non-fat yogurt is the superfood that will one day save the world.  How many other foods can you use to make breakfasts, desserts, toppings and cheese?!

I found this easy cheese recipe and bought my very first cheesecloth.  After you read this, please do me a favor and make this recipe for you and yours.  The possibilities are endless with the herbs and flavors that could be added here, so please feel free to comment and share what you decide to do!


1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
3/4 tablespoon salt

1. Line a collander with a cheesecloth (you can even get cheesecloths at Safeway)
2. Set collander over a bowl to catch the liquid
3. Mix yogurt and salt together in a bowl (here is where you can add other flavors, probably a tablespoon chopped of whatever herb you choose).
4. Dump yogurt mixture on top of the cheese cloth and fold the cloth over
5. Put in the fridge for 36 hours (periodically check and squeeze water)
6. Serve with is cheese after all!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Curry Tomato Lentils with Rice

I love tomatoes (almost as much as I love goat cheese, potatoes and pizza).  It is rare to get these in my neck of the woods and when I do I ALWAYS serve them with mozzarella.  This time I decided to try something different.  The more I created this recipe, the more ideas that popped into my head.  It is simple, yet filling and very, very satisfying.


3/4 cup lentils
1/4 cup brown rice
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 beefsteak tomato
olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup slivered almonds

1. Combine lentils, brown rice, curry powder and two cups of water in a sauce pan on medium high heat.  Cover with a lid.
2. Remove stem of the tomato (and in a beefsteak that usually means cutting into the tomato to get rid of the long stem) and then slice the tomato about 1/4 inch thick
3. Preheat the broiler
4. Drizzle olive oil on tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper
5. Place tomatoes into the oven and set timer for 6 minutes.
6. You should be keeping a close eye on the lentils.  As soon as the water is absorbed they are done.
7. Remove from heat and add tomato sauce and almonds to the lentils.
8. When tomatoes are done remove from oven and plate your dish according to your preference!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pea shoot Pesto

David and I started receiving our farm share last week and this time of year there are A TON of greens.  To prevent them from going bad we made a very simple pesto from some pea shoots.  These are very delicate greens that are also tasty in a salad (trust me) and also in stir fry (yes we did that too).  The pesto is nice to freeze so when you are hunkered down for winter later this year, you can dream of summer.


2 cups of pea shoots (tough ends removed, they taste very woody)
1/3 cup olive oil (plus more to cover the pesto in the container)
2 cloves of garlic
salt to taste
parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
lemon zest from half a lemon

1. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until all are combined.
2. Put in a small tupperware and store in the freezer.
3. Reheat as needed and put remainder (if there is any!) back in the freezer for next time

This can be served on fish, chicken, pasta, on toast with goat cheese, potatoes, eggs, etc.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mama Lisa's Spam Fried Rice

I know Spam doesn't necessarily sound like the most appetizing food on the planet but in this fried rice dish from my mom, the spam adds a nice subtle flavor while also letting the other veggies and rice flavor develop.  If you try Spam once in your life this should definitely be the recipe!


1 cup of uncooked rice (cook it per package instructions)
1 can of lite Spam
2 zucchini
2 carrots
1/2 cup vegetable or grapeseed oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
4-5 green onions or scallions
1 cup frozen peas

1. Prepare rice separately (even the night before)
2. Dice Spam, zucchini and carrots into bite size pieces.
3. Heat wok over medium high heat, when hot add  oil to pan
4. Let oil warm for about a minute and then add spam and veggies
5. Saute for five minutes to get a nice crispy edge on these, then add the rice and stir to coat with oil (this is called stir fried rice after all!)
6.  Cook rice for another 4-5 minutes.
7. Lower heat to medium low and add soy sauce, red pepper flakes, scallions and frozen peas (they will warm up in a minute).  This is also a good time to add a few drops of sesame oil or some hoisin sauce.
8. Serve in bowls (with hot sauce if desired).

The great thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever veggies you like!  Mushrooms and spinach would definitely work as well!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

A few weeks ago I was feeling under the weather and was craving vegetable soup with some substance.  David suggested tortellini vegetable soup and this recipe was our final result.  You can really substitute a lot of different veggies in this recipe and could even swap pasta for the tortellini.  I would love to have put some fennel in this dish to complement the tomato based broth.


1/2 onion thinly sliced
1 celery stalk chopped
4 medium carrots peeled and chopped
1 quart chicken stock (using veggie stock here will make it vegetarian)
1/2 cup of tomato paste
1/2 lb tortellini or pasta
1 handful of parsley removed from stems and finely chopped

1.  Heat soup pot over medium high heat, when hot add a little olive oil or butter.
2.  Add onion, celery and carrot to the soup pot and stir to coat with oil.  Let cook 5 minutes.
3.  Add stock, tomato paste and stir to combine
4.  Bring to a boil and add tortellini and cook per package direction (about 6 minutes)
5.  Salt/pepper to taste (after it cools down of course)
6.  Put in a bowl and add chopped parsley and serve!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mac & Cheese - Anderson style

This mac and cheese was so unbelievable and surprisingly good that it exceeds all previous mac and cheese recipes I've made. We combined a blend of medium cheddar cheese, dijon mustard and (YES) tomato sauce to create this bold blend of delicious flavor. Broccoli pieces intermixed with the pasta are an unbeatable combo!  We were so hungry we ate half of this before we realized we didn't take a picture!


1/2 box of pasta (penne, elbow macaroni, orecchietti, whatever you like best)
1 medium crown of broccoli cut into bite size pieces
1 small onion finely diced
3 tablespoons butter
3-4 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of milk (1% works well)
1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3/4 cup tomato sauce

1) Add pasta to boiling water and cook per directions on box.
2) Two minutes before pasta is done, add the broccoli pieces to the boiling water.
3) Drain when pasta time is up and set to the side
4) In large saute pan add butter and a bit of olive oil to melt over medium high heat
5) When butter is melted and hot, add onions to the pan and let cook about 5 minutes (until starting to turn translucent and slightly brown)
6) Quickly whisk in a tablespoon of flour at a time making sure to coat the onions with the flour/butter mixture
7) Reduce heat to medium and allow to cook for a minute or so to really develop the butter and flour flavor (you are making a bechamel sauce baby!!)
8) Slowly add milk while whisking with the mixture in the pan, you will start to see the sauce naturally thicken
9) When milk is added stir in cheese, dijon mustard and tomato sauce and when the cheese is melted put the heat to low
10) Preheat broiler!
11) Drain pasta and broccoli and put in an ovensafe pyrex dish
12) Pour the sauce over the pasta and gently mix
13) At this point you can sprinkle with some more cheese but it is not necessary
14) Put under the broiler for about three minutes but watch carefully so the top doesn't burn.
15) Remove and serve with a delicious green salad!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Potato Spanish Tortilla

After making this tortilla and packing the leftovers for lunch I had to be restrained from going back to the fridge for a midnight snack since David insisted he get some of this for his lunch the next day.  I cannot believe the simplicity of this dish and how well it actually turned out.  I find it difficult to cook potatoes in a skillet but this recipe really surprised me!  Another dish inspired by "Market Vegetarian" (seriously buy the book already!) with some modifications to create less dishes.  


2 lb bag of small new potatoes
1/2 medium onion chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 roasted red peppers from a jar, also chopped finely
2 eggs beaten
A nice chunk of fontina cheese chopped into bite sizes pieces

1. Slice potatoes not too thick but not too thin (average?).  
2. Add potatoes, onion and olive oil to a large ovenproof skillet all at once.  I was skeptical of this method but it actually worked.  Be sure to stir the veggies to coat with oil and to prevent them from sticking to the pan.  Cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Cover the veggies with broth and salt and pepper them.  Then place a lid on the pan (or a piece of foil) and let cook on medium undisturbed for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and most of the liquid is gone.
4.  Add diced red pepper and then add beaten eggs lifting the edges of the potatoes and onions with a spatula to allow the egg to seep into the nooks and crannies of the mixture.
5.  At this point preheat your broiler.
6.  The egg should take about 2-3 minutes to set.  Then sprinkle the fontina cheese throughout and in the mixture.  You can put as much cheese in this as your heart desires and you could even use goat cheese instead.
7.  Put skillet in the oven under the broiler for two minutes and then check every minute thereafter until the top is browned.  This should be no more than four minutes total.
8.  Remove from the oven (carefully) and serve!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Napoli Lentils

This dish is heaven on earth.  I love Italian food more with each day and this dish is no exception.  I got it from a fabulous cookbook "Market Vegetarian" by Ross Dobson and this person is an utter genius!  I modified a few things and here is the final result!


1/2 cup lentils
1/2 medium onion finely diced
2 gloves garlic (minced)
red pepper flakes
2 tablespoon capers chopped
1 14oz can whole peel tomatoes 
10-12 pitted kalamata olives (chopped)
Feta cheese (to your preference)

1. Add lentils to a small pot and fill with about 2 cups of cold water.  Place over medium high heat and boil.  When lentils are boiling, turn heat down to medium, cover the pot and let simmer for 15 minutes (or until all the water is gone).
2. Heat a saute pan and add a few swirls of olive oil.
3. When oil is hot, add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes.
4. While that is cooking, open the can of tomatoes and insert a pair of kitchen scissors (that are clean!) in the can and use to cut the tomatoes.
5. After five minutes of the onion cooking in the pan, add the capers, tomatoes with their juice and olives to the pan and stir to coat.  Let simmer on medium low heat while lentils finish.
6. When lentils are done, add them to the saute pan with the tomato mixture and stir to coat.  
7. Put in bowls and top with feta cheese!