Italian Vichyssoise

I love discovering great soup recipes especially for the colder months. Here is a wonderful recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, which has an Italian twist on the traditional. Don’t skip the croutons with this recipe. They are really easy to make and add great crunch and texture to the meal. You can use any bread you like – I used brioche – the better the bread you use, the yummier the croutons you make!

 
 

 
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Stuffed Baked Tomato Rice

There is nothing more amazing than the phenomenal tomatoes that are available here in the summer and early fall season. I love the vibrancy of flavors that fresh tomatoes bring to any dish and adding tons of garlic and basil makes them even more marvelous.

Here is my friend Maria Paniccia’s outstanding yet simple stuffed tomato rice recipe. Her husband Peter grows some of the best tomatoes in New York and he spoils me silly with them every year.

This dish does really well with a little cayenne pepper sprinkled on top!
 
 

 
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BROWN RICE PASTA WITH A RAINBOW OF VEGGIES

I seem to be getting tons of gorgeous colored swiss chard, carrots and tomatoes in my organic CSA box lately.







What a beautiful medley of colors these veggies make when thrown together.

Here is a super easy, healthy pasta recipe that can be made using any kind of pasta you like.

I used a brown rice pasta from Trader Joes.



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BUTTERNUT SQUASH LASAGNA

I am not a huge lasagna or butternut squash fan.

I always get tons of squashes in my weekly CSA box and other than soup, I’ve been a little fearful to try making much else with them.

So you can imagine my excitement when I found this recipe (courtesy Giada De Laurentiis) and saw that my kids (and their friends) couldn’t get enough of it.

This divine recipe, creates a supremely healthy and tasty lasagna, that is quite easy to make.

Thanks Giada – I’m going to be truly grateful to you for this one for a long, long time.





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STIR FRIED SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH SWISS CHARD AND HOT CHERRY PEPPERS

Last week I went on and on about my new favorite vegetable – spaghetti squash.






Well, I made another wonderful find this week, at the Caribbean grocery store - hot cherry peppers.




 

Isn’t it pretty?


Put the two together and the results are dynamite.


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Kale and Carrot Casserole ( with or without tuna)

I belong to a wonderful local CSA where I get all kinds of organic vegetables all through the fall and winter months. Since I get only seasonal vegetables through the CSA, I often have to be inventive with how I can make my kids eat those veggies over and over again. I was really thrilled with this recipe that I threw together last week. The recipe is based on a superb recipe for a tuna fish pie that my mother makes ( which Ill blog very soon).

This dish can be made with just veggies or you can add tuna fish to if you would like. I made it with Tuna and my kids loved it.



KALE AND CARROT TUNA CASSEROLE

Serves 6 people

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized carrots peeled and shredded

2 cups of finely chopped kale

1 packet of wide egg noodles or curly pasta cooked according to directions.

5-6 red or white potatoes boiled

1/4 cup milk

2 cans of tuna fish

1 stalk of celery chopped fine

1 small onion chopped fine

5 tablespoons of mayonnaise

2 cups of grated cheese ( I used a four cheese mix – you can use any cheese that melts well)

3 tablespoons of olive oil


METHOD:

Pasta/ Wide Egg Noodles

  • Cook the pasta/ noodles according to directions and drain.
  • Mix with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.

Veggies:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wok or frying pan on medium heat.
  • Add the chopped kale to the pan and cook it covered for about 5 minutes. (kale takes a long time to soften – keep an eye on the pan to make sure the kale doesn’t begin to burn)
  • Add the shredded carrots to the pan and mix well.
  • Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes till the carrots are softened.
  • Add salt and pepper and set aside

Potatoes:

  • Mash the boiled potatoes with the 1/4 cups of milk till a smooth consistency is reached.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Set aside.

Tuna Fish: ( vegetarians can skip this step)

  • Place the tuna fish in a bowl.
  • Add the finely chopped onions and celery to the tuna.
  • Add the cooked carrots and kale mixture to the tuna.
  • Add the mayonnaise to this and mix it all very well.
  • Set aside.

Putting it all together:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 325°F.
  • In a casserole dish or a 9X13 Pyrex dish place the pasta/ noodles as the base layer of the casserole.
  • Put the tuna fish on top of the pasta layer.
  • Put mashed potatoes as the next layer.

  • Sprinkle generous amounts of cheese to top of the casserole.
  • Cover lightly with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese melts and the casserole is heated through.
  • Serve immediately.

Spaghetti with Shredded Carrots, Corn & Imitation Crab Meat (pollock)

This is a really healthy, quick spaghetti dish that can be cooked up in minutes. I always keep imitation crab meat in my freezer. It adds a really nice flavor to this dish. You can substitute the shredded carrots and corn for any other vegetables that you have on hand.

Spaghetti with Shredded Carrots, Corn & Imitation Crab Meat (pollock)

Spaghetti with Shredded Carrots, Corn & Imitation Crab Meat (pollock)


1 package spaghetti or angel hair pasta – cooked according to directions

10 -12 sticks of imitation crab meat

6-7 clove of garlic chopped

3 cups of frozen corn

2 cup of shredded carrots

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & pepper to taste

METHOD

  • Cook the spaghetti according to directions on the box and keep aside.
  • In a large wok, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Add the chopped garlic and cook for a minute till its fragrant.
  • Add the shredded carrots and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the frozen corn and imitation crab meat.

Spaghetti with Shredded Carrots, Corn & Imitation Crab Meat (pollock)

  • Saute for about 5 minutes and then add the cooked spaghetti.
  • Mix everything very well.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Turn the heat off and add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the spaghetti.
  • Mix well, top the spaghetti off with some Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

Spaghetti with Shredded Carrots, Corn & Imitation Crab Meat (pollock)

Spaghetti with Corn & Broccoli (chicken optional)

Here is a really quick pasta dish I make whenever I have some rotisserie chicken lying around. You can omit the chicken to make this a vegetarian pasta dish. I usually use frozen corn that I always keep on hand in my freezer.

Spaghetti with Corn, Broccoli & (Chicken)

Spaghetti with Corn, Broccoli & (Chicken)

2 cups of chopped rotisserie chicken (optional)

2 cups of frozen corn

2 cups of broccoli steamed

1 package of spaghetti or pasta of choice prepared according to directions on package

Salt & pepper to taste

2 tablspoons of olive oil

METHOD:

  • Heat olive oil in a wok.
  • Add the chopped chicken to it.
  • Add the frozen corn and stir together.

Spaghetti with Corn, Broccoli & (Chicken)

  • Cook for 3-4 minutes till the corn turns bright yellow.
  • Add the cooked spaghetti and mix well.
  • Stir for 2 minutes and add the steamed broccoli.

Spaghetti with Corn, Broccoli & (Chicken)

  • Stir till everything is combined well and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot garnished with parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti with Corn, Broccoli & (Chicken)

Tomato, Mozzarella and Avocado Stacks

This is one of my favorite – do it yourself- appetizers to serve. It is so easy and yummy. Use a good quality French or Italian loaf as a base. I usually don’t grill or toast the bread but in a happy accident my friend Oz (the culinary queen of Queens) toasted the bread on the grill the last time I served this. I found that this added an amazing crispy crunch to the bread and makes the stack so much tastier.You can add some other foods such as smoked salmon, sliced onions, thinly sliced ham and so on to go with the basic Tomato, Mozzarella and Avocado Stacks.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Avocado Stacks

Tomato, Mozzarella and Avocado Stacks

2 ripe tomatoes sliced

One ripe avocado sliced

Sliced Mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 loaf of good quality French or Italian bread sliced into thin slices

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (I use the Fairway brand – Balsamic Vinegar of Modena)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon of sugar

Basil leaves

IMG_2560

  • Grill or toast slightly the sliced bread.
  • Place a slice of mozzarella on the bread.
  • Add a slice of tomato and some avocado on top.
  • Place a basil leaf on top.
  • Mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sugar whisk it very well till it is well combined.
  • Pour 1/2 a teaspoon of the dressing on top of the tomato, mozzarella and avocado stack.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Avocado Stacks

Penne with Chicken and Peas

This is a really quick and tasty pasta dish that I make whenever I have rotisserie chicken lying around. You could substitute for grilled chicken too and if you want to keep the dish vegetarian , you could leave out the meat all together.

Penne with chicken and peas

Penne with chicken and peas

Penne with Chicken and Peas

(serves 6-8)

1 packet penne pasta cooked according to directions

3 cups of chopped rotisserie chicken

2 cups frozen peas

6-7 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Salt & pepper

Ground parmesan cheese as  garnish

Fresh green chilies, finely chopped (optional)

Penne

Penne

Rotisserie chicken chopped

Rotisserie chicken chopped

  • Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and add chopped garlic.
Stirring the garlic

Stirring the garlic

  • Stir for 1-2 minutes till garlic become fragrant.
  • Add the chopped chicken.
  • Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the frozen peas.
Garlic, chicken and peas cooking

Garlic, chicken and peas cooking

  • Cook for 2-3 minutes, till the peas turn bright green and are just cooked.
  • Add the cooked penne and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Adding the Penne

Adding the Penne

  • Mix it all very well.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes till everything is well mixed and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot with lots of parmesan cheese on top.
Penne with chicken and peas

Penne with chicken and peas

I personally love this dish with a good heaping of fresh chopped green chili. It really adds a great bite to the dish!