Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients
1 large egg
1 pound 97-98% lean ground turkey
1 pound 92-93% lean ground turkey
2/3 cup (40g) Panko
3 Tablespoons (45ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (22g) grated parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 large onion sweet onion, sliced
two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
chopped fresh basil for serving, optional

Directions
Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground turkey, Panko, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, parmesan, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix everything up just so the ingredients are combined – avoid overmixing. Roll into desired size balls – mine were slightly larger than a golfball.

Place all rolled meatballs on a large baking sheet.

Place onion slices in the bottom of the crockpot, topped with 1 can of crushed tomatoes.

Coat a large skillet with remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Lightly brown the meatballs (only 6-8 meatballs at a time) for about 1 minute on each side. Do not skip this step – read above for why. Layer the meatballs into the crockpot as you’re browning each batch.

Once all browned meatballs have been added to the crockpot, pour remaining can of tomatoes on top.

Cover and cook on low for 6-6.5 hours. Serve with pasta, as meatball subs, plain, etc. No matter how I serve them, I always top with a little chopped fresh basil. Store leftovers covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Make ahead tip/freezing: Prepare meatballs through the browning step; cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze up to 2 months. Add to crockpot and cook as directed. OR you may fully prepare 1 day in advance, refrigerate, then cook in the crockpot on low for 45 minutes or until warmed. Freeze cooked meatballs in sauce for up to 2 months. Defrost before reheating as desired.

Note: I cut this in half

Goat Cheese and Tomato Tarts

Ingredients:
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Good olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Directions:
Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.

Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.

Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna

Ingredients:
For the Butternut Parmesan Sauce:
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Lasagna:
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, heated and squeezed well
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
salt and fresh pepper
9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim shredded Italian Blend Cheese
1 tablespoon parsley, minced

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon, reserve about 1 cup of the water and set aside, then blend until smooth with an immersion blender, adding 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid to thin out.

Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, add the oil, sauté the shallots and garlic over medium-low heat until soft and golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little more of the reserved water to thin out to your liking. Stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Ladle about 1/2 cup butternut sauce sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.
Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Ladle about 1 cup of sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp Italian cheese blend. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts and everything is hot and bubbly. Top with parsley and serve. Makes 9 rolls.

To serve, ladle a little extra sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.

(I put the butternut squash sauce inside the lasagna and then put a simple tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish and then over the rolls).

From skinnytaste.com

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Ingredients:
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt and fresh pepper
32 oz tomato sauce
9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Makes 9 rolls.

To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.

Baked Spinach Risotto

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

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.

Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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)

Duck Ragu with Papparadelle

Ingredients:
2 duck breasts
2 T cinnamon
extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt
4 slices of bacon (preferably duck bacon)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 medium carrots
5 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
3 14-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
1/4 c plus 2 T tomato paste
1 pound papparadelle
1/2 c parmesan

Directions:
Marinate the duck with olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon. Let it sit for 30 min. Smoke duck. If you can’t smoke it, roast it for 2 hours on 350, flipping the meat every 30 minutes. Drain the fat and discard.

While the duck is roasting, heat 2 T olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until starting to crisp. Add the onion, carrots, garlic. Turn the heat down to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomatoes and their juice and put 1/2 c water into one can, swish it around to get all the tomatoe stuck to the sides of the can, pour into the next can, and repeat with the third. Add the tomato water to the Dutch oven along with the wine, a good grind of pepper and a healthy pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down very low and let simmer for 1 hour and 15 min.

After the duck has cooled, remove and discard the skin and shred the meat. Fold the duck meat into the ragu along with the tomato paste and cook on very low heat, uncovered for at least 1 hour and up to 4, adding splashes of water if necessary to keep it from drying out (continue to season with salt and pepper as you splash).

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Divide the pasta among bowls and spoon a generous amount of duck ragu over the pasta. Top with parmesan cheese.

(adapted from My Father’s Daughter)

Spicy Italian Sausage and Tomato Lasagna

Ingredients:
12 dried lasagna noodles (about 10 ounces), uncooked
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes in puree
Coarse salt and ground pepper
6 cups shredded shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)

Directions:
Fill a 9-by-13-inch baking dish two-thirds of the way with hot tap water. Add noodles, and arrange them in alternating directions to prevent sticking. Let soak while preparing sauce.

Make sauce: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, and red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add sausage, and cook, stirring and breaking it up, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and their puree, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon (or use emulsion blender); bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. (You should have about 8 cups of sauce.) Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain noodles, transfer to a baking sheet; dry dish with paper towels. Spoon 1 cup sauce in bottom of dish. Fit 4 noodles in dish (crosswise if using short noodles, lengthwise if using long), overlapping slightly. Cover with 2 cups sauce, 2 cups mozzarella, and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Repeat with another layer, then top with remaining noodles, 3 cups sauce, and the rest of mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil, and bake 1 hour.

Remove foil, and continue baking until bubbly and browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 20 minutes. Cut and serve.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients:
5 ¼ c low-sodium chicken broth
½ oz dried porcini mushrooms
½ c unsalted butter
2 c finely chopped onion
10 oz white mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ c Arborio rice
2/3 c dry white wine
½ c frozen peas, thawed
2/3 c parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Directions:
Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy, medium size saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Cover and set aside until the mushrooms are tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and chop. Cover the broth and keep warm over low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy, large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, and garlic; sauté until the mushrooms are tender and juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice. Add the wine; cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1 c of the hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often until liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by the cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes. Stir in the peas. Mix in the parmesan cheese. Add in salt and pepper to taste.

(courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis)

Chicken Milanese with Arugula and Tomato Salad

Ingredients:
For the salad:
1 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
½ carton of cherry tomatoes, sliced
¼ small red onion, sliced thin
1 T chopped fresh basil
kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 c baby arugula

For the chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ c Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese
1 lemon, juice of
1 T olive oil
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
olive oil spray (or olive oil)

Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk olive oil and balsamic. Add tomatoes, basil and onions; season with salt and pepper, and toss. Set aside at least 10 minutes so the juices combine.

Preheat oven to 450°. Place a large baking pan in the oven to get hot.

Combine breadcrumbs and grated cheese in one bowl. In another bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper.

Lightly pound chicken breasts (I used a turvis tumbler). Wash and dry cutlets.

Dip cutlets into lemon/oil mixture, then into breadcrumbs, pressing firmly to adhere. Remove the baking pan from the oven and spray with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the baking sheets and spray with olive oil spray on top.

Bake chicken, turning once halfway through for about 15-17 minutes total, or until chicken is golden. Remove from the oven and top with arugula and tomato salad on top.