Thursday, September 8, 2005

A pretty darn good meal

Today Andy's parents arrived from Buffalo to spend the weekend with us. We had a nice visit this afternoon- and the kids had a very fun time with them. That was so nice to see. I was worried that it would take Zander all weekend to warm up to them, and very glad that it only took about 10 minutes or so. As soon as Grandpa expressed interest in Zander's "choo-choo's" he was hooked.

So for a casual dinner tonight I made two recipes from Rachel Ray, and am quite happy with the results actually. I made her Potato, Tomato, and Spinach Soup- which really was super simple, and quite good. The only adjustment I made to the recipe was to add some frozen tortellini for the kids- and it really completed the soup, IMO. It was a light soup anyways, and the pasta made it more of a meal. I think I will add tortellini again. The only warning I have about this recipe is the nutmeg. It really does work in this soup- but you definitely can taste it, so if you have any aversion to nutmeg, leave it out. The recipe says it serves 4- and let me tell you, it made a lot of soup. You could easily plan it to serve 6 or 8 as a first course or with a sandwich.

The second recipe is actually two, and I really changed the one, so I'm not sure it counts... but it's a panini with pancetta, roasted peppers and mozarella. I didn't make panini's though. Instead, last night I made a whole wheat french bread and today I sliced it in half, filled it with the panini fillings and popped it in the oven to let the fresh mozarella get all melty. Oh, it was quite good. Do make it- in a panini or a hot sub as I did. I also had had an eggplant sitting around that needed to be used, so I made Giada's Caponata. Caponata is an Italian relish, and it was quite good, albeit a little on the spicy side. The recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoe, and I grabbed a can of Fire-roasted tomatoes with green chilis. So it added a bit of heat- yet it is still good. I had a little on my sandwich, and it was good, but I preferred the sandwich by itself. The caponata will be around for a few days and make its way into other sandwiches and other applications that I come up with. The only change to the caponata was the amount of oil. I only used about a drizzle of oil at the beginning. 1/4 cup is a lot of oil to get absorbed by that eggplant.

So here are the recipes

* Exported from MasterCook *
Potato, Spinach and Tomato Soup Recipe
Recipe By : courtesy Rachael RayServing Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:10
3 cloves crushed or finely chopped garlic
1 large onion -- chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 quarts chicken broth
3 pounds all purpose potatoes -- peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound fresh triple washed spinach -- stems picked and coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg -- grated or ground
Salt and pepper
1 can chunky-style crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes in puree -- (28-ounce) 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano

In a deep pot, saute garlic and onion in oil for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth and bring liquid to a boil. As you slice potatoes, add them carefully to the broth. Cook potatoes 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The potatoes will begin to break up and thicken broth as the soup cooks. Stir in spinach in bunches as it wilts into soup. Season soup with nutmeg, salt and pepper, to your taste. Stir in tomatoes and heat through, 1 or 2 minutes. Remove pot from the stove to a trivet. Stir grated cheese into your soup and serve.
Source: "30 Minute Meals"Start to Finish Time: "0:20" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

* Exported from MasterCook *
Panini with Prosciutto, Roasted Pepper and Mozzarella
Recipe By :Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:05
1/3 pound thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma
8 thin slices chewy -- crusty Italian bread from a large loaf
1 jar roasted red peppers -- (16-ounce) drained well
1 pound fresh mozzarella -- sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil -- for drizzling

Preheat a grill pan or large nonstick griddle over medium to medium high heat. Build your sandwiches: place 2 or 3 slices of prosciutto on 1 piece of bread. Top with an even layer of roasted pepper and an even layer of sliced mozzarella, top with another slice of bread. Drizzle the tops of your assembled sandwiches with extra-virgin olive oil. Place the olive oil coated bread face down on the grill or griddle and drizzle the opposite side with additional extra-virgin olive oil. Weight the sandwiches down with a tin foil covered brick or a heavy skillet filled with a sack of flour or heavy canned goods. Press the sandwiches 2 or 3 minutes on each side, then serve immediately.
Source: "30 Minute Meals"Start to Finish Time: "0:06" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

* Exported from MasterCook *
Recipe By : Recipe courtesy Giada De LaurentiisServing Size : 6
1/4 cup olive oil
1 celery stalk -- chopped
1 medium eggplant -- cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper -- cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion -- chopped
1 can diced tomatoes -- (14 1/2-ounce)
3 tablespoons raisins
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon drained capers

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and saute until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Season with salt. Add the red pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, raisins, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, and capers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Source: "Everyday Italian" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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