Minestrone

The comfort food trend continues… The snow has finally relented but the chill has remained in the air – perfect soup weather!  So today I’m sharing my favorite soup recipe with you.  Well, my favorite soup to eat.  My boyfriend cooks this recipe for me which makes me and my tummy super happy.  I’m sure it will make your tummy happy too!

Minestrone

This hearty vegetable soup is satisfying any time of year but particularly during the cold months.  And unlike many comfort foods you can feel good about eating it.  I can’t think of a tastier way to eat a bowl full of vegetables!  This is one of those recipes you have to let simmer for awhile, but it’s worth the wait.  Just make yourself a big pot so you have some leftovers – this soup reheats very well.

Minestrone

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients

1/3 c. Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Butter
1 small Onion, thinly sliced
2 Carrots, diced
2 Celery stalks, diced
2 medium Red Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 oz. Green Beans, chopped
1 Zucchini, finely diced
2 Canned San Marzano Tomatoes, chopped
1 Parmesan Rind (optional)
2 c. Beef Broth
2 c. Water
14 oz. can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
Salt
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan (I use Parmigiano-Reggiano)

1.  Add the oil, butter, and onion to a large stockpot or dutch oven.  Turn the heat on to medium low and cook until the onions are a light gold.

Onions

2.  Add the carrots and after 2 minutes add the celery.  Then add the potatoes, green beans, and zucchini then stir.  (Look at those veggies piling up!)

Veggies

3.  After 5 minutes add the tomatoes, beef broth, water, and parmesan rind (if using) then season with salt.  Bring the soup to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

4.  Stir in the cannellini beans and allow to simmer 30 minutes longer.

Minestrone

5.  Turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan.  Season to taste with salt and ladle into bowls.  This recipe makes 4 large bowls of soup.  One is probably enough to fill you up (especially if you’re having it with bread) but it you’re hungry you’ll have a hard time resisting going back for another bowl.

I recommend serving this soup with our Rustic Bread for soaking up the delicious broth… YUM!

Pasta with Pesto Goat Cheese Sauce

Outside the snow is piled into 5 foot drifts and the temperatures are beyond frigid.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain – yesterday was a balmy 25°.  Of course now the temperatures have plummeted back into the teens with overnight lows below 0, and there’s snow in the forecast.  That means 2 things: 1) I’ve been spending a lot of time in sweat pants to stay warm and 2) Comfort food cravings.  You know what I mean… When the weather outside makes you want to stay curled up and cozy inside you want hearty food to fill your belly and warm your bones.  So today I’m sharing with you my current comfort food addictions: Pasta with Pesto Goat Cheese Sauce.

Pesto Goat Cheese Pasta

This creamy, gooey dish with it’s crisp panko topping really hits the spot.  It’s kind of like a grown-up mac and cheese, and it’s DELICIOUS!  This dish is quick enough and easy enough to make on a weeknight.  It’s also a great way to use pesto (check out our recipe to make your own) leftover in the fridge… maybe from our Pesto Pizza?  One bite of this dish and you won’t be able to put your fork down!

Pasta with Pesto Goat Cheese Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

4 oz. Pasta
1/2 c. Milk (Whole is best)
4 oz. Goat Cheese
6 tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp. Pesto
3/8 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
Topping
1/2 tbsp. Butter, melted
1/2 tbsp. chopped Basil
1/4 c. Panko
1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
pinch Garlic Powder

1.  Boil pasta according to package directions.  I like to use a fun pasta shape but you can use whatever you like.

2.  While the water is heating for the pasta, warm the milk over medium heat.

3.  Once the milk is steaming crumble the goat cheese into the milk and whisk until smooth.  Then whisk in the parmesan.

4.  Stir the pesto into the goat cheese sauce and  season with salt and pepper.  Cook until sauce reaches the desired thickness.

Pesto Goat Cheese Sauce

5.  Stir the sauce into the pasta and transfer to a baking dish.

6.  Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over pasta.

Top with Bread Crumbs

7.  Brown under the broiler, just make sure to keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn!  You want the topping crisp and golden.

Broil

The tang of the goat cheese will make this dish a unique addition to your recipe collection.  You’ll love it!  If you’re looking for a traditional mac and cheese check out our World’s Best Mac and Cheese or if you’re looking for other winter weather dishes try one of our soups (Chicken Noodle, Butternut Squash, **FIX** or Lasagna), our Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce and Sausage, our Semi-Homemade Lasagna, our Lasagna Spaghetti Squash, our Easy Chicken Pot Pie, or our Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.  Stay warm and keep your tummy happy!

Roasted Garlic Guacamole and Super Bowl Sunday

It’s that time of year again… Super Bowl Sunday!  For sports fans that means potentially one of the best football games of the year – though last year was a big let down.  If you’re not into sports, the day is probably more about the food and the commercials.  Whatever you’re looking forward to, we’re here to make sure your game day menu is delicious!

I’ve got plenty of cooking to do myself so I’m going to keep this short and sweet today.  I have a super-easy, super-tasty recipe to share with you today that is perfect for football munching…

Roasted Garlic Guacamole

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 Avocado
2 cloves Garlic, unpeeled
1+ tbsp. Lime Juice
2 tbsp. chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/8 tsp. Salt

1.  First you need to roast the garlic.  Put the cloves, still in their skins, in a skillet and turn heat onto medium.  Once that side is browned, flip the garlic cloves, continuing to cook until it is roasted on all sides.  Set aside to cool.

Roasted Garlic

2.  Once garlic has cooled, peel it and place it in a bowl.  (I use a molcajete, one of those giant Mexican stone mortar and pestles, and it works like a dream.)  Mash the garlic cloves using a fork or pestle.

3.  Halve and pit your avocado (see Tips for Cooking with Avocado) and scoop the flesh on top of the garlic.  Mash until fairly smooth making sure to mix in the garlic.

4.  Stir in lime juice, cilantro, and salt, and you’re done!  It’s generally best to make it about 30 minutes before you want to eat it to let the flavors meld.  If you’re worried about browning, put the pit in the guacamole and press plastic wrap onto the surface.

Guacamole

Serve with a warm bowl of tortilla chips.  If you’re looking to round out your menu, try pairing it with our**FIX** Garden Fresh Salsa or Southwestern Bean Dip.

This stuff is delicious on tacos and pairs particularly well with our Chipotle Stout Braised Beef whether it’s in tacos or empanadas.

Curious about what I’ll be serving today?  We’ll be enjoying Bacon-Wrapped Scallops, shrimp cocktail, crab rangoon, Tomato and Goat Cheese Tartlets, green bean fries, and zucchini chips.  YUM!

Want more ideas?  Take a look at last year’s Super Bowl post or check out these tasty appetizers and snacks that are sure to make your Super Bowl party a hit:

Maple Candied Bacon

Mac and Cheese Bites

Sausage Balls

Spanakopita Bites

Wild Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry season is in full swing up here in Alaska and we’ve been taking advantage!  Berry picking is a great excuse to get outdoors on a nice afternoon or evening so we’ve collected a lot of berries in the last few weeks.  We’ve been using them for a wide variety of culinary creations from breakfast to drinks…

  • Homemade blueberry preserves (from my Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook) – delicious on toast or, my personal favorite, homemade Buttermilk Biscuits.
  • Blueberry waffles, my boyfriend’s favorite breakfast dish, using my Spiced Buttermilk Waffle recipe (which I’ll share soon).
  • Blueberry simple syrup to use in these Blueberry Lime Smashes from Mind over Batter – wonderfully refreshing but not too sweet drinks perfect for sipping on the porch.  I’d describe them as a hybrid between a blueberry mojito and a margarita.

Maybe next weekend I’ll make some blueberry streusal muffins.  But today I’m sharing with you a breakfast classic – Wild Blueberry Pancakes!

Blueberry Pancakes

I think the recipe for the batter originally came from Anne Burrell but I can’t remember for sure.  What I can tell you is these pancakes are wonderfully tall and fluffy, the best I’ve ever had.  The blueberries almost add a savory quality to this dish.  I know, you’re thinking, “But berries are sweet…”  Well, a) I’m using wild blueberries which are usually not a sweet as the storebought variety and b) next to maple syrup the berries don’t seem as sweet as when they’re eaten alone.

Anyways, these pancakes are sure to start your morning off right.  When it’s not blueberry season I use the batter to make plain buttermilk pancakes so if you don’t have any blueberries or prefer your pancakes without them, give the recipe a try.  These pancakes don’t take much more time and taste much better than flapjacks from the boxed pancake mixes!

 Wild Blueberry Pancakes

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

1 c. Flour
2 tbsp. Sugar
1 1/8 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Egg
1 c. Buttermilk
2 tbsp. Butter, melted
~1/2 c. Blueberries

1.  Beat the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter together being careful not to cook your egg with the warm butter.

2.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.  Add the wet ingredients and mix to create a lumpy batter.  Do not overmix the batter or you’ll end up with tough pancakes…

Pancake Batter

3.  Heat a pan (I use a griddle) over medium heat.  Once the pan has heated, spoon ~1/3 c. batter onto the skillet and sprinkle the top with blueberries.

Sprinkle with Blueberries

4.  Cook about 3 minutes until the first side is golden.  There should be small bubbles forming on the surface of the uncooked side.  Flip and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side.  Keep in mind these are thick, fluffy pancakes so they may need a little more time than you expect to cook all the way through.

Flip Pancakes

5.  Transfer the cooked pancakes to a warm oven while you finish cooking the rest of the batter.  You should get about 6 pancakes.

Once all the pancakes are cooked, plate ’em up and serve with syrup.  If you want a very blueberry-y breakfast, you could use blueberry syrup.  I prefer real maple syrup – the good stuff.  I hope these pancakes help get your day off to a great, tasty start!

Blueberry Pancakes

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

As I’ve told you before, I never ate seafood before I moved to Alaska.  Once I got up here and tried fresh salmon and halibut I was converted.  For a long time I stuck with fish and shrimp.  It took awhile for me to branch out to other shellfish.  My boyfriend really loves scallops and had been not-to-subtly hinting that I should make them for a while.  So I finally decided to give them a try for his birthday this year.  I had never had scallops before so I figured the way to go was to wrap them in bacon…

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Everything’s better with bacon!  Plus, I knew that bacon-wrapped scallops are a very popular appetizer.  I decided to use Tyler Florence’s cooking method and the scallops came out perfectly on the first try!  The savory quality of the bacon paired with the subtle sweetness of the scallop make for an incredible bite.  They are a guaranteed home run!  They’re so easy to make and lend an air of decadence to any meal.  If you serve these at a party, they’ll get gobbled up like candy…

Whenever you’re eating seafood, it’s important to be a responsible consumer.  Make sure you know what you’re eating and where it’s from.  There are a lot of resources out there to help you choose sustainable seafood, but my favorite is Seafood Watch from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  They have pocket guides that you can print and keep in your wallet, and they have a smartphone app.  Check them out!

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

12 Scallops
6 slices Bacon
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper

1.  The first thing I do is treat my scallops like I do all shellfish – I rinse them and pat them dry.  As you can see, I had beautiful Alaska weathervane scallops to work with…

Next, slice your bacon in half and soak a dozen toothpicks in water.

Rinse Scallops

2.  Wrap the bacon pieces around the scallops and secure with a toothpick.  If the bacon is a little too short, use a couple toothpicks.  Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Season Scallops

3.  Place the scallops on a broiling pan and bake under the broiler, on the middle rack, for 7 minutes, flip, and cook another 7.  Flip them one more time and leave them under the broiler for an additional minute to get the first side a little more golden.  When they’re done they should be nicely browned on both sides and the edges of the bacon should be crisping.  Make sure you keep an eye on them – if your broiler runs hotter than mine they will cook quicker and you don’t want to burn them.

Tip: I like to turn the broiler on a few minutes (3-5) before putting the scallops in so that they don’t start in a cold oven.

Broil Scallops

Let them rest a few minutes before serving but don’t let them get cold.  I usually leave the toothpicks in so the bacon doesn’t fall off.  This simple but delectable appetizer is sure to please any palette and is perfect for special occasions.  Take a bite and prepare to be blown away!

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Leek Pizza with Creamy Onion Sauce

I realized it has been quite a while since we shared a pizza recipe with you…  So to break the hiatus I’m posting a very unique pizza.  It doesn’t have your typical red sauce or its more gourmet cousin, white sauce.  It’s not a sauceless/olive oil pizza either.  Instead, it’s topped with a creamy golden sauce unlike anything you’ve ever tried on a pizza.

Leek Pizza

The sauce is made by caramelizing onions, to bring out their natural sugars, then simmering them in cream.  This sauce paired with a blend of mozzarella and gruyere, leeks, green onions, and rosemary makes for a scrumptious gourmet pizza.  The toppings may sound unusual, but you’ll love the flavor!  This pizza is not my brain child but comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, My Pizza by Jim Lahey.  If you’re a pizza lover it’s a must own!

Leek Pizza with Creamy Onion Sauce

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 5-7 minutes for Brick Oven Style, 15-20 minutes for traditional baking

Serves: 2

Ingredients

No-Knead Pizza Dough
1 Leek, white part only
3 oz. Fresh Mozzarella
2/3 c. grated Gruyere Cheese
3 Green Onions
pinch chopped fresh Rosemary
Freshly-ground Black Pepper
Creamy Onion Sauce
3/4 Onion
1/8 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. Olive Oil
leaves from 1 Thyme Sprig
pinch Salt
1/2 c. Cream
1/2 tsp. Lemon Zest
1/4 tsp. Salt

1.  First you need to caramelize the onions for the sauce.  Cut the onion in half then into strips ~1 in. thick.  Separate the slices and place them in a bowl.  Toss with the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and thyme leaves.

2.  Put the onions in a small pot, cover, and turn heat on to medium-low.  Cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.  Make sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!

3.  Uncover, toss in a pinch of salt, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.  They should turn a beautiful golden color.

Caramelize Onions

4.  Add the cream to the pot and increase heat to medium.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the volume is reduced by half (5-10 minutes).  Stir in the lemon zest and salt.  Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth (I use my immersion blender).

Creamy Onion Sauce

5.  While the sauce is cooking, thinly slice the white part of the leek.  If you’ve never worked with leeks before, they’re a slightly sweet member of the onion family that looks like a giant green onion.  If you like them on this pizza and want to eat more, try them charred – they’re wonderful!

6.  Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and blanch leeks 2-3 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

7.  Top crust with onion sauce.   Pull mozzarella into clumps and spread over pizza.  Next, sprinkle on the gruyere.  Add the leeks and green onions.  Finally, scatter the rosemary over the pizza and top with freshly-ground black pepper.

Top Pizza

Bake 5-7 minutes using our Brick Oven Method or 15-20 minutes at 425°.  (Don’t forget to preheat your pizza stone if you’re using one!)  The cheese should be golden and bubbly and the crust should be starting to char.  Just look at this masterpiece…

Leek Pizza

Let the pizza set and cool for about 5 minutes then slice and serve.  One bite and you’ll know it was worth the effort!  And I bet you’ll have to go back for another piece…

Leek Pizza Slices

Want to try more of our pizzas?  We’ve got a recipe to suit every mood: Check out our Pesto Pizza, Barbeque Chicken Pizza, Four Cheese White Pizza, Pizza Margherita, Sausage and Fennel Pizza, or Sausage and Ricotta Pizza.

Quick and Simple Teriyaki Sauce

My name is Rachael, and I’m a teriyaki addict.  It’s one of my absolute favorite flavors!  I’m not exaggerating when I say I have 4 different teriyaki sauce recipes.  And that doesn’t include the teriyaki glaze for our Asian-Glazed Brussels Sprouts.  One sauce is hibachi-style, one sauce is more for grilling, and the other two are for stirfries (which sauce I choose depends on the protein it’s paired with).  Today I’m sharing the recipe I make most frequently, my easiest sauce.

Teriyaki Stirfry

This sauce is a stirfry sauce that I like to use for weeknight meals.  I love stirfries because they’re quick, one-pan meals that are packed with veggies.  My favorite is teriyaki chicken (bet you didn’t see that coming…) with broccoli, carrots, and water chestnuts.  Sometimes I mix it up and go meatless by using tofu in place of chicken.  I used to use a more ingredient-intensive recipe until I found this simpler sauce which is now my go-to.  You just throw all the ingredients in a pot and heat – couldn’t be easier!

Quick and Simple Teriyaki Sauce

Prep Time: < 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

3/4 c. Water
1/4 c. Soy Sauce
6 tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. Corn Starch
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Sesame Oil

Ingredients

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk together.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over!

Thicken Sauce

That’s it!  Once it’s thickened it’s ready to use.  As I mentioned, my favorite use is a chicken or tofu stirfry with carrots, broccoli, and water chestnuts.  Obviously you can mix and match your favorite proteins and veggies to tailor the stirfry to your taste.  You can eat the stirfry by itself for a light meal or pair it with a side to make it more filling.  I recommend fried quinoa (see our Thai Tofu Stirfry recipe for a great fried quinoa), fried rice, or spring rolls.  I also use this sauce to make Food Network’s Sirloin with Teriyaki Broth which is quite tasty!

Teriyaki Stirfry

Leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks (I always make extra!).  When you want to use it, reheat it in a sauce pan, mixing well.  You may need to thin it with some water – it tends to thicken in the fridge.