Baked Spinach Risotto

2 ½ T extra virgin olive oil
2 c chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 ¼ c Arborio rice
1 ½ c dry white wine
4 ½ c vegetable stock
1 bag (10oz) spinach, rinsed, heavy stems removed, chopped
1 c grated parmesan
1 t salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13 in baking dish with ½ T of the oil.

Heat the remaining oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 6-8 minutes. Stir in the spinach, ½ c of cheese, salt and pepper.

Spoon the mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.


Spinach with Feta and Pine Nuts

2 ½ T olive oil
1/12 c chopped yellow onion
1 lemon
1 lb fresh spinach, washed and dried
Salt and pepper
1 ½ T toasted pine nuts
½ c diced feta

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the onion and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until the onion is tender but not browned. Meanwhile, zest the lemon and set aside. Squeeze the lemon, and add 1 ½ T of lemon juice to the plan. Add the spinach in big handfuls, tossing constantly with tongs for a minute or until all the leaves are wilted. Toss with 1 ½ t salt and ½ t pepper and remove from the heat.

Add 1 t of the lemon zest, the pine nuts, and feta, and toss gently. Season to taste and serve hot.

(from Barefoot Contessa’s Foolproof)

Creamed Artichoke-Spinach Casserole

20 to 24 oz fresh spinach
¾ c heavy cream
1 ½ c gruyere, cheddar, parmesan or asiago cheese
2 ½ T unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
2 pkgs (9 oz each) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 T finely chopped dill

Thoroughly rinse the spinach and remove the heavy stems. Place the spinach in a large skillet and cook until it is completely wilted. Squeeze it dry in paper towels. Chop it. Mix the spinach with the cream and half the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use ½ T of the butter to grease a 1 ½ qt baking dish.

Dry the skillet you used for the spinach and melt the remaining butter in it. Add the onion, scallions and sauté until tender. Stir in the artichoke hearts and cook over medium heat, stirring, until they start to brown. Stir in the dill. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread the artichokes in the baking dish. Spread the spinach mixture on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining cheese. Bake about 40 min.

(from Park Avenue Potluck)

Yogurt Mint Sauce (for Lamb Chops)

6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
½ c chopped fresh mint leaves
2 T minced fresh dill
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 T good olive oil
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
7 oz Greek-style yogurt
1 t salt
½ t pepper

Place the scallions, mint, dill, red pepper flakes, olive oil and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until it’s a coarse paste. Add the yogurt, salt, pepper and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.

(from Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That?)

Greek Lamb Chops

4 large garlic cloves
3 T chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 ½ t dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
½ c freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ c good olive oil
½ c dry red wine
2 racks of lamb, frenched and cut into 8 chops each

Place the garlic, rosemary, oregano, 1 ½ t salt, and ¾ t pepper in a food processor and pulse until the herbs are finely minced. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and red wine and combine. Place the chops in a glass or ceramic dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Pour the marinade over the chops, turning to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

When ready to cook, remove the lamb from the marinade, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and grill for 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove to a platter and cover tightly with foil. Set aside for 10 minutes. You can also broil the lamb 6 inches from the heat for 10 min. Serve hot with cold yogurt mint sauce.

(from Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That?)

Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas

2 15.5oz cans chickpeas
½ c chicken stock
3 T good olive oil
2 ripe medium-sized tomatoes, seeded and small-diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ c parmesan
3 T flat-leaf parsley
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Bread or crackers for serving

Pour chickpeas into a colander and rinse them under cold water. Drain well. Place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the chicken stock and pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely chopped but not pureed.
In a medium sauté pan, heat the 3 T of olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until they are softened. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Add the chickpeas, stirring to combine with the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring until heated through. Off the heat, stir in parmesan, parsley, lemon juice, 2 t salt, and 1 t pepper. Put in a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Serve warm or room temperature.

(from Barefoot Contessa’s Foolproof)


2 T olive oil
1 ½ lbs Andouille or kielbasa sausage, diced diagonally ½ in thick
8 chicken breast cutlets
Salt and pepper
2 T unsalted butter
1/12 c onion, chopped (1 onion)
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 c celery, diced
1 28oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained and medium diced
2 T minced, seeded jalapeno pepper (2 peppers)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T tomato paste
2 t dried oregano
1 t dried thyme
½ t ground cayenne pepper
1 c dry white wine
5 c chicken stock
3 c extra-long-grain white rice, such as Carolina
3 bay leaves
1 lb shrimp
½ c chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ c scallions
¼ c freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a very large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the sausage and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turning the pieces until browned. Remove the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pot and cook over medium high heat until browned (5 min). With tongs, turn and cook for another 5 minutes, until browned. Remove to the bowl with the sausage and set aside. Don’t be tempted to cook both together – they won’t brown properly.

Add the butter to the oil in the pot, then add the onions, bell peppers, celery, 1 T salt and 1 t pepper and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, cayenne, and 1/12 t salt, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the white wine and scrape up the browned bits in the pot. Add the stock, rice, sausage, chicken and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduced the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and simmer covered for 5 more minutes. Off the heat, stir in the parsley, scallions and lemon juice. Cover and allow to steam for 10-15 minutes, until the rice is tender and the shrimp are fully cooked. Discard the bay leaves, and sprinkle with extra parsley and scallions, serve hot.

(from Barefoot Contessa’s Foolproof)

Truffle Mashed Potatoes

6 large russet potatoes
2 T unsalted butter
½ c half-and-half
3 T truffle oil
salt and pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Bring water to a boil in a large pot and boil the potatoes for 20 minutes or until soft.

Meanwhile, bring the half-and-half to a soft boil in a small saucepot and melt the butter. Drizzle in the oil and keep warm. Be careful not to burn it.

Once the potatoes are soft, drain the water and put the potatoes back in the pot. Pour in the half-and-half, butter and oil mixture and mash them (with masher or large spoon). Use can use a hand mixer if you want it more soft and pureed. Season with salt and pepper (and more oil or butter for a stronger taste).

Lentil Soup

2 T olive oil
1 c finely chopped onion
½ c finely chopped carrot
½ c finely chopped celery
2 t kosher salt
1 lb lentils, picked and rinsed
1 can of chopped fire-roasted tomatoes
2 qts chicken or vegetable broth
½ t coriander
½ t cumin
½ t turmeric
¼ t cinnamon
¼ t cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sautee until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, spices and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.

Warm Spinach and Boursin Cheese Dip

10 oz fresh spinach, stems removed
4 packages of Boursin cheese, or soft goat cheese, at room temperature (about 16 oz)
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne
1 T olive oil
¼ c parmesan cheese
chips for serving

Wash the spinach and shake off excess water. Place in skillet and cook over medium heat just until the spinach wilts. Wrap the spinach in several thicknesses of paper towel and squeeze out the moisture. Chop the spinach.

Transfer the spinach to a bowl, add the Boursin and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne.

About 45 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9-in ceramic dish with the olive oil. Spread the cheese mixture into the dish and sprinkle the parmesan on top. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the top has started to brown.

Serve immediately with chips for dipping.

(courtesy of Park Avenue Potluck)