Pasta with Halloumi Cheese and Oven Roasted Vegetables

Pasta with Halloumi Cheese and Oven Roasted Vegetables

Yummy pasta tossed with pan-fried Halloumi cheese, roasted veggies, fresh rosemary, toasted ciabatta croutons, and cherry tomato mushroom sauce. Then topped off with a squeeze of fresh lemon, basil leaves, and parmesan cheese.  Halloumi cheese is a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk, and has a high melting point allowing it to be sautéed long enough to develop a crispy exterior.

½ small loaf ciabatta bread, cut into small cubes
1 yellow pepper, cut into ½” pieces
1small red onion, sliced into thin wedges
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided plus extra
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice
Kosher salt
16 ounces Campanelle pasta
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 package halloumi cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ cup thinly sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Slice the crusts off the ciabatta bread, then cut into ½” cubes and place into a large mixing bowl. Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds, cut into ½” square pieces, and add to the bowl. Peel the onions and cut into thin wedges then place in the bowl.

Drizzle in 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and the chopped rosemary into a small bowl. Using a rasper grater, finely grate the lemon zest into the small bowl, add a large pinch of salt and whisk everything together. Pour the mixture over the bread and vegetables, tossing them well so everything is coated. Lightly coat a sheet tray with oil and pour the vegetable onto the sheet tray. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. While keeping one cup of the pasta water, drain the rest, and set the pasta aside.

While the pasta cooks, add the remaining olive oil to a pan set over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes until soft. Add the halloumi cheese and sauté for 2-3 minutes until golden on all sides. Remove and keep warm.

Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and sauté until they pop. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and tomato paste with ½ cup of pasta water and cook until incorporated and a smooth sauce forms, about 3-5 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables with bread and any liquid in the pan to the tomato mixture. Cook until incorporated, add the pasta and the sautéed Halloumi cheese, then squeeze the fresh lemon over the pasta, stir in. If needed, thin the sauce with the remaining pasta water. Top with fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and serve.

Individual Potato and Onion Pizzas

Individual Potato and Onion Pizzas

End winter with this great comfort food dish. Layers of cheese, potatoes, and onions are topped with rosemary, and crushed red pepper. Then we baked the pizza to perfection before topping it with fresh parsley.

Pizza Dough
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon of honey
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to oil the pan
3 cups of bread flour, plus extra if needed
2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 cups grated monterey jack cheese
1 pound unpeeled small fingerling potatoes
6 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
2 small red onions, sliced very thin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 ½ teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

To make your own pizza dough – use a stand mixer with a dough hook and combine the 1¼ cups of warm water (must be between 100-110 degrees for the yeast to bloom), yeast, honey, and 3tablespoons of olive oil in the mixer work bowl. Allow the yeast to dissolve and bloom for about 5 minutes. Then add 3 cups of bread flour topped with 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and mix on medium-low until combined. Continue kneading the dough in the mixer work bowl for 10 minutes, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary, to keep it from sticking to the sides of the bowl until it forms into soft smooth dough. After 10 minutes, pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead it by hand until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees; cover 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Slice the small fingerling potatoes, very thin. In a large sauté pan, cook the garlic cloves over medium heat in 4 tablespoons olive oil for three minutes; remove and discard the garlic. Add the potatoes in a single layer to the sauté pan and cook until crisp and cooked through for about 5 minutes; remove and cool briefly.

Turn the dough out on a floured board. Cut the dough into 6 even pieces and let rest, covered with a towel for 10-15 minutes. Stretching the dough, shape each piece into an 11-12” circle and place on the parchment paper. Per pizza, brush lightly all over with olive oil and sprinkle over a pinch of salt. Top each one with ¼ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese, then 1/6 of the potatoes, then top with another ¼ cup cheese. Sprinkle 1/6 of the sliced red onion over the cheese then top with 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary and a pinch dried crushed red pepper

Bake one sheet pan at a time in the center of the oven for 10-12 minutes until the crust is browned on the bottom and sides. Remove from the oven and top with the parsley. Makes 6 pizzas.

Pasta Power Bowl

Pasta Power Bowl

Keep your healthy month going with this great tasting Pasta Power Bowl. High in vitamins and protein, the types of pasta we used provide 3 servings of Vegetables and 25 grams of Protein. So, the easy to make seared tomato topping is just a yummy fiber bonus!

8 ounces Ancient Harvest POW! Red Lentil Pasta
8 ounces Ronzoni Super Greens Rotini
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Following the package directions, prepare the pasta in separate saucepans. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and sauté until the skins blister. Crush the tomatoes and add the garlic, tomato paste, and salt. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Add the pasta to warm bowls, top with the tomatoes and sprinkle with the green onions, cheese, and parsley. Makes 4 servings

Winter Grain Bowls

Winter Grain Bowls

After an indulgent holiday, everyone is looking for a tasty way to get on a healthier track in the new year. Grain bowls are an easy and delicious way to get started. You can make them with your favorite grains or try some new ones using this simple recipe. Be sure to choose lots of veggies in different colors for flavor and nutrition. So select your favorites and assemble your grain bowl – they taste great warm, cold, or room temperature.

Choose a grain such as brown rice, quinoa, farro, barley, millet, or spelt. Following the package directions to prepare your grain, plan on cooking ½ cup per bowl, and replace the water with vegetable or chicken stock to add extra flavor. Place your cooked grains in the bowl and top with your favorites listed below. For our photos, we used brown rice, quinoa, and farro in our sample bowls.

Choose a protein such as 1/3 cup beans, 3 ounces cooked omega 3 fatty fish – like salmon, 4 ounces cooked chicken,  1-1/2 ounces of cheese, an egg, 3 ounces of tofu or 1 ounce of nuts or seeds. In our photo samples, we used salmon, chicken, black-eyed peas, cannellini beans, lentils, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and walnuts.

Choose lots of vegetables such as oven-roasted kale, sweet potatoes, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower. Add some raw veggies too such as radish, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, fennel, cucumber, sprouts, scallions, and salad greens. For our bowls we used roasted kale, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes; plus, fresh bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and scallions. See our vegetable roasting recipe below.

Choose a fat such as 2 tablespoons nuts or seeds, ¼ cup olives or ¼ avocado. Or add 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil or any healthy nut oil, any healthy salad dressing or use our easy lemon dressing.

Top with fresh herbs or spices for additional flavor. Sprinkle your bowl with parsley, thyme, cilantro, basil, dill, mint, or oregano. You can also add minced ginger, lemon zest, or red pepper flakes.

Easy Lemon Dressing Combine 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest with 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk in 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss 1 tablespoon with the grains or beans, or pour over the finished bowl. Makes 4 servings

 For oven roasted vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400˚F, toss two cups of vegetables in a tablespoon of olive oil, spread evenly over a foil-lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. and roast until lightly browned and tender. Thicker veggies will take 20-30 minutes. Thinner or leafy, such as Kale and asparagus, will take only 10 minutes.

Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips

Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips

No snickering here, just some real cookie love with these Snickerdoodles. A perfect holiday cookie, they will ignite your home with the smell of the holidays. We added some easy-to-make homemade cinnamon chips to kick the flavor up a notch.

To make the cinnamon chips:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200˚F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, shortening, light corn syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough. Spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and flatten into a rough square about 1/4 inch or so thick. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely, blot off any excess oil with paper towels, and then cut into small pieces. Makes approximately 2 cups.

To make the cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2¾ cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup of Cinnamon Chips

For rolling:
½ cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at high speed until light and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of the bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add egg and vanilla, beating until well combined

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in 1 cup cinnamon chips until evenly distributed

Add the remaining granulated sugar to a bowl. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, scoop the dough, and roll into balls. Roll balls in the sugar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown and puffed up, 14 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pans then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Southern-style Chicken and Dumplings

Southern-style Chicken and Dumplings

Baby, it’s cold outside! Keep warm with a bowl of delicious southern-style Chicken and Dumplings made with light, fluffy dumplings in a rich broth loaded with chicken, vegetables, and fresh herbs. It’s pure southern comfort in a bowl.

6 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, small dice
6 medium carrots, peeled, cut crosswise into thin rounds
2 ribs of celery cut into small dice
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, divided
2 ¼ cups flour, divided
2 boxes sodium free chicken stock
Kosher salt and
freshly ground pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening, cut into cubes
1 cup whole milk

In a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat butter over medium. Add onion, carrots, celery and 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, constantly stirring; season with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken and parsley in pot; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

To make the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 2 cup flours, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the shortening into the flour until the flour is just mealy. Gradually stir in the remaining thyme and milk until the dough just holds together to form a moist and soft batter.

Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons in the simmering liquid, keeping them spaced apart. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover and simmer until chicken is tender and dumplings are firm 10 minutes. Makes 10 servings.