Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta With Roasted Beets

Polenta is just the best. You can really eat it for any meal, and there are so many ways you can cook it. Some days I’ll make it creamy like I did here, and other days I’ll cook it in the pan to crisp it up. It’s definitely one of my favorite go-to items! I bought this great organic polenta from Whole Foods which cooks in a minute or two, a lot faster than the usual 30-40 minute polenta. Then I mixed in some garlic and herb goat cheese (also from WF Market) which gave it a nice creamy texture. Then for the beets I just simply roasted them in the oven with olive oil. An easy and delicious meal!

Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
1 cup polenta
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons herb goat cheese (plus more for topping)
3 large beets, peeled and cut into small chunks
Fresh herbs for topping (optional, I used some mint I had on hand)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss the beets in some olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender. When the beets are just about done, make the polenta per the box instructions. The particular brand I bought had me simmer the chicken stock, then add the polenta in a slow stream. Then mixing constantly for a minute or two until it thickened and started to stick to the sides of the pot. One it was done, I turned off the heat and whisked in my goat cheese.

To serve, simply fill up your bowl with polenta and top with the roasted beets, some additional goat cheese, and fresh herbs!

Summer Pea & Prosciutto Risotto

Risotto! One of the easiest most delicious things to make. It wasn’t until recently that I tried making it, as I was under the impression it was a hard thing to make, but turns out it is incredibly easy! There are minimal steps, you just need a little patience while the rice takes its time to absorb all that delicious liquid. Though I find sipping a big glass of wine is a great way to help the time pass while you wait!

3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
28 ounces chicken stock
1 cup fresh peas
1 cup shredded zucchini, moisture squeezed out
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional
Good pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a heavy bottomed pot, add the chopped prosciutto and a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Cook until crispy then remove and set aside. In the same pot, sauté the garlic and shallots for a few minutes then add the rice, followed by the wine, and simmer for about 3 minutes. In the meantime bring the chicken stock to a boil in a separate pot then turn off the heat. Add enough of the hot stock to the rice in order to just cover it, and stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. This will take about 5-7 mins. Pour in more stock and repeat the process until the rice has absorbed all of the stock and is creamy and el dente, about 25 minutes total. While the rice cooks, sauté the peas in a pan with some olive oil for about 5 minutes then set aside. When the rice is ready, add the cooked peas, zucchini, prosciutto, lemon juice, fresh parsley, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add a touch of butter if you want to get a little crazy! A poached egg on top is always lovely as well…


Caramelized Onion & Cauliflower Quiche

I always forget how incredibly easy it is to make a quiche! Plus it’s a great way to use up any leftover veggies and cheeses you have around. So, when on Saturday night I remembered that I had a frozen pie crust from Whole Foods, and a excess amount of eggs, I knew that quiche was my dinner destiny. (I just re-read that sentence and am now realizing I might not be the coolest 29 year old out there haha) Anyway! I’ve never put cauliflower in quiche before but I actually liked it a lot! I think a creamy goat cheese would be great with this as well if you want to swap the Parmesan cheese for something else…

1 pie crust, frozen or homemade
1 small cauliflower head, chopped and steamed (about 1 cup)
1 large garlic clove, roasted
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
5-6 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup half & half, or cream
Good pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and cook the pie crust for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden. If you have them, you’ll want to use pie weights so that it doesn’t puff up. Or if you’re like me and keep meaning to buy pie weights but always forget to, then you can just prick holes in the bottom of the pie to let the heat escape, and simply push down any dough that puffs up. In the meantime, also roast the garlic in the oven. I just wrap mine in some aluminum foil and place it in there for about 15-20 mins. While those are cooking, saute the red onion with some olive oil until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes toward the end. In a large bowl beat the eggs and add the cream, salt and pepper.

Spread the caramelized onions and chunks of roasted garlic on the bottom of the pie shell, next add the cauliflower, then the Parmesan cheese. Lastly, pour over the eggs. Bake for 25-30 mins or until the eggs are set and the crust is golden brown.

Lemony Goat Cheese & Mushroom Ravioli

I have a secret to share with you! Two words…. wonton wrappers. Not everyone has time to make pasta from scratch, but still wants something a little more homemade then the stuff you pick up at the grocery store. I love using wonton wrappers as my ravioli pasta, it is so easy and tastes delicious! This time I stuffed them with pan roasted mushrooms and scallions, goat cheese, ricotta, and lots of lemon. This ended up being one of my favorite pasta dishes I have made in a while! I promise they taste better than they photographed…

Seeing the ravioli was so flavorful, I just warmed up some olive oil, lemon, and red pepper flakes to drizzle something simple over the top.

Ingredients (makes about 20 ravioli)

Wonton wrappers
7oz goat cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
8-10 baby bella mushrooms, stems removed, chopped
1/3 cup freshly chopped scallions
Juice and zest of (1) small Meyer lemon
Fresh black pepper
Olive oil
Small bowl of water

Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Squeeze of fresh Meyer lemon juice

Cook the mushrooms and scallions over medium heat with some olive oil for about 5 minutes. Once finished, place in a food processor with the goat cheese, ricotta, lemon juice/zest, and a good crack of fresh black pepper. Mix until fully incorporated.

Place the wonton wrappers on a flat surface and top half of them with about a teaspoon of the mushroom filling. You don’t want to over fill them otherwise the filling will leak out. Next, one by one wet the edges of each ravioli with the water, then wet the edges of a (non) filled wonton sheet and place on top. Seal the edges by pressing/pinching firmly. I like to use a pastry cutter to make the edges pretty! Place all the ravioli on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel to help them not dry out until you’re ready to boil them. In a large pot of boiling salted water, drop in half of the ravioli and let cook until pasta is soft, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

For the topping, just cook the olive oil, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes for 1-2 minutes on the stove, and pour over top the pasta when serving. I also added some fresh shaved Parmesan cheese and a little more black pepper.

Kale Leek & Butternut Squash Pot Pie

I had a lot of leftover vegetables this week and thought it would be a good idea to use them up in a fall pot pie! It was perfect little meal to make on a Sunday afternoon. If only they made buttery pie crust blankets I could wrap myself in… then Sunday’s would EVEN BETTER. Dare to dream people.

Pie Dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for surface)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch black pepper
3-4 tablespoons ice cold water
1 egg (for egg wash)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed small
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup kale, chopped
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt, to taste

Start by making the dough. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and pepper. Add the cold butter and pulse until the texture resembles small peas. Add bits of the water at a time and pulse until the dough is able to hold together when pinched. Make sure not to over mix it though! Pour it out onto a flat surface and form the dough into a disk shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

When the dough is almost ready, you can start to make your filling. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the squash and carrots with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake for about 25 minutes or until fork tender. Remove and set aside. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, cook the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent. Next add the leeks, kale, and mushrooms, and cook until softened. Lastly, add in the sage along with the roasted squash and carrots.

In a separate saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle in the 1/4 cup flour. Whisk well for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in about 1/2 cup chicken broth at a time until smooth. In a little bowl, mix together the corn starch with a splash of water, then add that to the broth. Stir for about 5 minutes until thickened. Pour the mixture into the pot with the vegetables, and toss in the white pepper, nutmeg, paprika, and salt to taste. Let cool slightly.

While that cools, roll out your dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Pour the filling into your pie dish, and top with the dough. Trim edges as needed, and slit a few holes in the top so it can vent while cooking. Bake in oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If the edges begin to burn or cook too fast, simply cover the edges with some aluminum foil for the remaining time… OR you can get one of these lovely pie crust shields that I use!

Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before digging in. I randomly added a small dollop of sour cream to mine which was delicious!

Leek & Arugula Risotto With Pancetta

I’ve never made risotto before, mainly because I thought it always sounded so time consuming to make. But I am happy to report that it doesn’t take that long and is totally worth the end result. The pancetta with the runny egg reminded me a little carbonara, which I love. I think my favorite thing about this recipe was that I tossed in some lemon juice and zest which ended up giving it really nice flavor.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
3 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 oz pancetta, chopped
1 large garlic clove
1 cup sliced leeks
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup water
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup chopped arugula
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs

Start by bringing the chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep on low.

In a heavy saucepan, cook the pancetta in a little olive oil. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Next, saute the garlic and leeks in the leftover pancetta drippings until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and and stir for another 1-2 minutes. Next add the the water, lemon juice and zest, and cook until liquid is absorbed. Add in 1/2 cup of the hot chicken broth and cook until liquid is absorbed, then repeat until all broth is used. You want to be stirring constantly. The rice will be soft but will still have a little firmness to it when finished. Toss in the pancetta and arugula.

To poach the eggs, boil some water in a medium sized pot. Add about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (helps make them fluffy) and swirl the water with a spoon to get a little whirlpool going before pouring the eggs in one at a time. Cook for about :30-:45 seconds before removing them with a slotted spoon. I usually lift them slightly out of the pot and gently poke the centers until it feels a little firm but runny in the center.

Plate the risotto and top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and your poached egg!


Eggplant Parmesan Hero

Eggplant is one of my favorite things to eat. Cover it in tomato sauce and cheese and I’m even happier. So it was surprising to me that I had never made eggplant Parmesan before! And now that I have, I am fighting the urge to cook it every night for dinner. It was SO GOOD, and not as hard to make as I was anticipating. The coating and frying of the eggplant takes a little time, but it’s worth it. You can toss the leftovers over pasta or just eat it alone in a bowl. I was going to only eat half of the sandwich for dinner because it was so large, but I ate the entire thing. NO REGRETS!

Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 tablespoon salt
3-4 eggs, beaten
All-purpose flour, for dredging
2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
12 oz mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch rounds
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh basil, julienned
Fresh rolls

Tomato Sauce: (or use store bought sauce if you like!)
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Good pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the sliced eggplant in one layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with some salt. This will remove some of the bitterness. After about 10 minutes, rinse well with water and pat dry.

While the eggplant is doing its thing, make the sauce. Simply place the crushed tomatoes in a saucepan with the garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon crush the tomatoes even more and cook for about 5 minutes. Set aside. **I like some tomato pieces in my sauce, but you can use pureed tomatoes if you prefer!

Have your eggs, flour, and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Heat 1/8 of an inch of oil in a frying pan until simmering. Have a wire rack ready with some paper towels underneath, or a baking sheet – just something to catch or absorb any drippings from the fried eggplant. First dip the eggplant in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, and fry about 5 pieces in the pan at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Make sure the heat isn’t too high or they’ll burn! Place each piece on the wire rack when finished, then repeat with the remaining eggplant.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub a little olive oil inside a 10-inch baking pan to prevent sticking. Cover the bottom with a single layer of eggplant, overlapping them a bit. Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce over the eggplant, followed by some of the fresh basil, then top with mozzarella slices and a few tablespoons of the grated Parmesan cheese. Repeat until all eggplant is used. Cover with foil and place in oven for 40 minutes, then remove foil and cook for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and a little golden. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before assembling the sandwich. Slice the rolls and place them in the oven to crisp them a bit, about 3 minutes.

Stuff the rolls with the eggplant and EAT!

Spicy Cucumber Lime & Basil Popsicles

The city has been so hot the past few days, I’m pretty sure I’ve unintentionally lost 5 pounds from just walking around while melting like buttah. I almost flew out of my chair when I suddenly remembered that my mother gave me a Popsicle mold for Christmas. I immediately juiced come cucumber and got to work, using my love for spicy cucumber margaritas as my inspiration. I didn’t add alcohol this round, but will definitely be doing that next time!

2 large cucumbers
Small handful fresh basil
1 lime
1/3 cup sugar
Good pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Juice the cucumber, basil, and lime. In a small saucepan, add the sugar, cayenne, and 1 cup of the cucumber mixture. Cook on medium stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool a little. Pour the mixture evenly into the pop molds and freeze for at least 8 hours. Enjoy!

Roasted Summer Vegetables With Burrata

My sister and I had made a snap pea and burrata salad from Bon Appetit for our other sisters baby shower a few years ago, and to this day we still dream about it. It was so simple and fresh. This is a take on that recipe, but with much more vegetables and a scallion dressing!

2 cups sugar snap peas, ends trimmed and strings removed
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 small head of broccoli
1 medium burrata cheese
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the zucchini and broccoli in some olive oil and roast on a baking sheet until cooked through and slightly browned. While that cooks, get a pot of boiling water going, and boil the sugar snap peas for about 2-3 minutes. Remove and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cool enough to handle, cut about half of the pea pods in half the long way, and removing a few of the peas of each.

For the dressing, blend the olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh scallions in a food processor. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add the peas to the baking sheet with the roasted zucchini and broccoli, and toss it all together. Plate and add chunks of fresh burrata cheese, then drizzle with the dressing. I also added a pinch of Malden salt as well!