Cioppino

Cioppino is a Christmas Eve tradition in my family. For as long as I can remember, my grandmother would throw it together every Christmas Eve and serve it with salad, white rice, and freshly baked bread rolls. It is a dish everyone expects when the holidays come around. Cioppino is the Italian equivalent of Paella seafood casserole.

My sisters and I would normally join her in making this dish. Now that my grandmother is gone, it is my turn to take on the cioppino and prepare it for Christmas Eve. Thankfully my grandmother left helpful notes on the recipe, like to triple to recipe in order to feed the 12 person group that gathers at her house on Christmas Eve. And to cut the salt in half to avoid it being too salty. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can prepare the sauce a few days before and freeze it. Then on the day you are ready to serve, simply heat up the sauce and pour over the fresh seafood, cooking it for about 20 minutes more. You serve it immediately, but it also reheats very well as leftovers.

Rating 5/5

 

Cioppino

Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours

 

1 minced large onion

1/2 cup minced celery

1/2 cup minced green pepper

1 or 2 minced garlic cloves

1/2 cup olive oil

2 1/2 cups canned tomatoes

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

1 tsp dried basil

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1 small bayleaf

6 black peppercorns

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine (find a cheap dry wine like pinot grigio)

2 lb fresh fish (halibut, cod, sea bass, or rockfish), cut into 2-inch squares

1/2 lb mussels in the shell (live and scrubbed)

1/2 lb clams in the shell

2 large king crab legs

1 lb shelled raw shrimp

1/2 lb scallops

Cook the onions, celery, green pepper, garlic cloves and olive oil in a large deep pan until translucent. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, bayleaf, peppercorns, salt and pepper; stir. Cover the pan and simmer for one hour, thinning with hot water as needed.

Add white wine and cook for 10 minutes, bringing it to a boil.

Place the seafood in layers in a deep stock pot and pour the boiling sauce over it. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Enjoy.

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Turkey Stuffed Red Peppers

About a month ago I moved out of my parent’s house and in with my boyfriend to my grandmother’s house. This way we could help her out around the house and live rent-free (a big bonus)! My grandmother has to pay close attention to what she eats: low sodium foods, not too much protein, and more fat to gain some weight. For a long time I have been wanting to make turkey stuffed red peppers. Not only because they look darn delicious, but because they are much healthier for you. The use of ground turkey and brown rice is better than ground beef and white rice. I didn’t add any additional salt to the recipe and it was really tasty. I will definitely be making this again for my boyfriend, grandmother, and myself. Pair this dish with some corn on the cob. 🙂

Rating 5/5

 

Turkey Stuffed Red Peppers

Oven Temp: 400°F

Cooking Time: 35 minutes

 

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb ground turkey

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 onion, minced

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin powder

3 large red bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

 

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil, garlic, and onion until soft, about 2 minutes. Add ground turkey, garlic powder, and cumin powder; cook until turkey is brown and cooked through.

Add the chicken broth and diced tomatoes, mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes. Mix together the turkey and cooked brown rice.

In a large baking dish, place red pepper halves, skin side down. Fill each pepper with as much of the turkey-rice mixture as possible. Pour the remaining chicken broth into the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the dish in aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle a little cheddar cheese over each pepper if you’d like.

Enjoy.

 

Found this recipe here.

Chicken Pot Pie

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Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean the cold weather is gone. In January there’s ice on my car’s windshield and I have to wear several layers just to stay warm at night. The nice thing about this weather is it is the perfect time for soups, stews, and really hearty meals. Hearty meals like… chicken pot pie! I have only had grocery store-made chicken pot pie. I have always wanted to create my own. My boyfriend and I flipped through the cookbook, ran to the store, and made a delicious, hot meal for a cold night.

4 pie crusts

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 small red pepper, chopped

2 tbsp butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp poultry seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup half-and-half

2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (we used a rotisserie chicken)

1 cup frozen peas and carrots

1 egg, beaten

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Keep pie crusts chilled until ready to use. In a large saucepan cook together onion, celery, and red pepper in butter over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.

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Stir in flour, poultry seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Add broth and half-and-half together. Cook and stir until thick. Add chicken and peas and carrots.

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Take two pie pans and line each with one of the pie crusts. (Normally chicken pot pie only calls for a pastry dough over the top but we like a lot of crust.) Pour half of mixture into each pie pan. Place another pie crust over the top of each. Fold edges of crust under the sides of the pans. Brush pastry dough with some egg.

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Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

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This pot pie was exactly what I was hoping for. It was very filling. I left out mushrooms and replaced leeks with onion for this recipe and it was still very delicious. We will definitely make this again, but first, shepherd’s pie!

This recipe was found in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

Easy Pasta and Meatball Dish

Among my group of friends, there are a few who are slightly intimidated by the kitchen. It is not that they don’t want to learn how to cook, but they feel uncomfortable even boiling water. Creating a dish, they feel, is too difficult. I’ve been surprised at how easy some dishes are to cook up and how delicious they turn out. I know there are many people out there that have no idea what they are doing and I’m here to say it is okay. Not sure what to have for dinner tonight? Try this super easy pasta dish. You will be surprised at how easy and rewarding a meal like this can be.

1 box pasta (any kind, I chose to go healthy with the whole grain)

1 green bell pepper

1 large white onion

1 package (12 oz) ground Italian sausage

1 can (45 oz) pasta sauce

extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

any other spices and seasonings you prefer

You do not have to be exact with the sizes or ounces of the packaging. These were the amounts I found to work with this dish but you can increase or decrease the amount of an ingredient depending on your personal preference. You can also switch out the Italian sausage for turkey sausage, the pasta sauce for plain tomato sauce or marinara sauce, and add in other vegetables.

Before you start preparing anything, place a large pot of cold water on the stove to boil at medium high heat. Add in a large pinch of salt and about a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the water begins to boil, pour in your pasta and cook until “al dente”. This means the pasta is just barely cooked all the way through. Usually the pasta box will give you a cooking time. In this case, I boiled the pasta for 9 minutes. Drain the water from the pasta with a colander and set aside.

Take the onion, remove the outer skin, and cut off the top and bottom ends to remove the root. Slice and chop the onion into chunks similar to the ones below. Place in a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Take the green bell pepper and cut off the sides, slicing them before adding them to the pan. You do not want any of the center or seeds of the pepper. Saute the onion and pepper on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until soft but still has somewhat of a crunch to it, about 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside.

In a large metal bowl, place your Italian sausage along with any spices or seasonings you would like in your meatballs. In this recipe, I used red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and some Worcestershire sauce for flavor. Using your hands (or if you’d prefer not to get your hands messy, a spoon) mix together the meat and spices and form into small meatballs.

Place the meatballs on a separate plate until they are ready to be cooked. Wash your hands whenever you handle raw meat!!

Using the same pan as you did to saute your veggies, place the meatballs in to cook. Cook until browned, moving them around occasionally to cook them evenly on all sides. You can always take one out to cool and check to make sure the middle is cooked through.

Take your large pot you used for the pasta and add in the pasta sauce. Heat on medium heat until it begins to bubble. At this point you will want to add your onion and pepper, meatballs, and pasta. Add salt and pepper if needed. Cook and stir until everything is hot and ready to serve.

To keep it easy, serve with store bought garlic bread and a bagged salad. I was surprised the first time I made this at how flavorful the meatballs were and the dish felt so healthy. If any beginners out there do give a recipe like this a try, I would love to hear about your experience and possibly view a photo. Enjoy and good luck!