because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

I had a big beautiful purple eggplant that was starting to fade, so I had to find a good use for it fast. I decided to make it into a dip … at first I was going to make some more baba ghanoush, but then I thought perhaps I could make something different with it … perhaps something with the flavors of Eggplant Parmesan … except creamier. Something you could spread on little toasts and munch on with a good glass of wine.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

We finished the A-Z Health Challenge on facebook on Saturday … I still need to make my way through all the Zucchini recipes everyone shared, but I was busy with my Mom and Dad’s Anniversary party this weekend. The party turned out well, but I’m exhausted. I need a day off. How nice that we have a holiday today so I have a day just to rest. Although I won’t really be resting. We’ll be harvesting tomatoes and other garden bounty, packing and driving and unpacking, assembling my new chairs that my aunt and uncle brought up for me.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip

  • 2 1/2 cups roasted eggplant (I used 1 large globe + 1 small Japanese eggplant)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Your favorite marinara or pasta sauce (I used my crock pot garden marinara sauce)
  • Shredded asiago (or parmesan) and mozzarella cheese (maybe a cup of the two cheeses, mixed? I didn’t measure the cheese … use enough to cover the sauce)
  • Fresh garden tomato, chopped fine
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
  • Thin slices of toasted ciabatta or french bread

Directions:

  1. To roast the eggplant on the grill, poke the pretty purple fruit all around with a fork, then grill on a hot grill until the outside is black and charred and the eggplant is sagging a LOT … that means it’s fully cooked.
  2. Pull off the peel and discard, then chop the pulp roughly and measure it. You will need about 2 1/2 cups for this dip (or you can scale down the other ingredients to match the amount of eggplant you have). Put the eggplant, garlic, herbs, and cream cheese in a food processor or handi chopper and blend till smooth. I had to do this in batches because my handi chopper wasn’t big enough to hold it all! Pour the creamy mixture into a bowl and stir in the greek yogurt, then add salt to taste.
  3. You can serve the dip in individual ramekins or in a larger pie or tart pan. Smear a good thick layer of the creamy eggplant mixture on the bottom of the dish, cover with a layer of marinara or pasta sauce, then top with shredded cheese and some chopped tomato on top. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with thinly sliced toasted ciabatta or french bread.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMelt in your Mouth Monday, Manic MondayTalent Show TuesdayTrick or Treat Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s Treasures and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

{guest post from Simply Gourmet Photography}

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

Hello everyone! I’m off on vacation … so today Sherron from Simply Gourmet Photography has volunteered to “blog-sit” on Sumptuous Spoonfuls. Sherron is an incredibly talented photographer and an amazing cook (as I’m guessing you can tell from the photo …). Sherron has inspired me in so many ways. Her dark chocolate peanut butter granola  was one of my favorite posts … but now I think I have a new favorite. This gorgeous foccaccia.

Take it away, Sherron!

~~~~~~~

I am so excited to be sharing my recipe for focaccia bread with Sumptuous Spoonfuls.  Ann is wonderful and she has always been so supportive of my blog and photography.

It will be one year in June when I started my blog, Simply Gourmet Photography.  I have been taking pictures for a long time and just happened to be asked to work with some amazing companies as a food photographer.  I recently moved to MD and was needing a change, so I started the blog with the hope that new opportunities would come my way and they have.  I am now a writer for one of our local magazines and I enjoy it very much.  I still get to take pictures, develop recipes and write.

One thing that I love about Ann’s recipes is that they are fresh.  I love her salads the most!  She has inspired me on more than one occasion to create a fun salad and dressing.  What better accompaniment to a salad than a fresh loaf of bread.

I love bread and I make bread a lot for my family.  I have the easy one hour recipes and then I have the all day, double rise, let sit over night recipes.  I enjoy them all. I love the way the dough feels in my hands after it has risen, so soft and airy.  I find the process of making bread creative.  There are so many types of breads, toppings, flours and styles. You could never get bored with making bread.

This recipe for focaccia has been made numerous times for my family.  I especially like to make it for sandwiches and big parties.  It makes two loaves and the options for toppings are endless.  This flavor of the caramelized onion and grilled garlic is my favorite.  I will make this focaccia and use the bread for French Dips.  It holds up great for a sandwich and the onion/garlic combination compliments the beef well.

I look forward to hearing how you have enjoyed it.

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

Caramelized Onion and Garlic Focaccia

Makes 2 loaves

To make the caramelized onions you will need:

1 large red onion, sliced
1 T. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Splash of red wine

In a large sauté pan, add oil.  Add the sliced onion and cook over medium heat.  The onions will start to turn a light brown and then gradually become darker.  If you need to add a bit more oil go ahead.  You don’t want them to get dry.  When the onions are dark brown, add your splash of red wine.  This step is optional but it does add a deep rich flavor to the onion.  Continue cooking until the onions are dark, not burnt.  The process takes about 25 minutes depending on how many onions you have.  If you only use half of the
onion, the cook time may be shorter.

To make the grilled garlic:

1-2 bulbs of garlic
1/3 cup of olive oil

Cut the ends off of each garlic bulb.  Brush the ends with the olive oil. On your BBQ, set your grill to 350 and grill the garlic until browned on both sides. This can also be done in your oven, but you will miss the grill flavor. They should be done at around 15 minutes.  I try to do a bunch at this time and then store the extra’s in the fridge.  When they are cooked, I remove the cloves and smash into a small bowl with 4 T. of olive oil, this will be used on the focaccia bread.

To make the loaves of focaccia:

2 cups of warm water
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
4-5 cups of flour, start with the smallest amount and add as needed
5 T. of olive oil

Toppings for focaccia:

coarse salt
pepper
fresh herbs or dried (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
olive oil
grilled garlic (recipe above)
caramelized onions (recipe above)

Prepare the yeast by adding the water, yeast and sugar to a small bowl.  Set aside for 5 minutes until it starts to bubble.  If your yeast does not create a foam/bubbly top then you may need to start over.

In your Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle, add the salt, 3 cups of flour and 2 T. of olive oil.  Start to mix together and add yeast mixture.  Mix well. Let rest 10 minutes.

Change from the paddle to your bread hook.  On medium speed, add a 1/4 cup of flour at a time until the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the bottom of the bowl.  Because my humidity is so high I usually end up adding more than 5 cups-just add it in 1/4 cup increments and you won’t add too much.

Knead in your mixer for 7 minutes. Move dough to an oiled glass bowl and let rise until double.

When the dough has doubled, turn onto a floured surface and knead for one minute.  Cut dough in half.

Preheat your oven to 400.

Prepare your cookie sheet.  Spray or oil the sheet then sprinkle some cornmeal across the cookie sheet.

The two focaccia loaves should fit side by side on your cookie sheet.  With your hands pull and push the dough into a small rectangle to fit on half of the cookie sheet.  Leave an inch in between the two loaves.  It will be uneven, this is okay.  It should look like little hills and valleys over the top of each loaf.

Take a pastry brush and brush the olive oil and grilled garlic over the top of both loaves.  It will pool and look like a lot, this is okay as it all cooks into the focaccia.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Next, add the caramelized onions.

The final step is adding your herbs and coarse salt.  I used dried herbs in this recipe.  I sometimes use fresh and I love that too.  I usually use an Italian spice blend or you can use oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme.

Bake the loaves for 20 minutes.  The focaccia bread should be golden brown. We slice ours into 1 inch chunks.

I will often serve the focaccia with a dipping mixture of: extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, Italian herbs and salt.  My guests love it!

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

Take a moment to go like Sherron on facebook or Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did!


Asparagus Pesto Rotini with Shrimp & ‘Shrooms

Asparagus Pesto Rotini with Shrimp & Mushrooms

So of course I had to make some pasta with my new love: Asparagus White Bean Pesto! I tossed in some fresh shelf mushrooms my dad gave me, but you can use any mushrooms of your choosing. I chose Rotini because the ridges in the little swirly pasta will “catch” the pesto nicely, so it won’t all slide off of the noodles.  It is a tasty, healthy meal that is fancy enough to  serve to company, but quick enough to have any weeknight.

Asparagus Pesto Rotini with Shrimp & Mushrooms

Asparagus Pesto Rotini with Shrimp & ‘Shrooms

If you have the pesto pre-made, this meal takes about 15-20 minutes to put together. If you don’t, it might take another 15 minutes to make the pesto. This makes two servings.

  • 2 servings (about 7 oz.) rotini pasta (I recommend using whole grain or high fiber pasta of some kind … it will keep you energized longer.)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chopped asparagus
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 heaping cup of shrimp (I used frozen pre-cooked shrimp, but fresh is even better)
  • 1/2 cup Asparagus White Bean Pesto (recipe here)
  • For the top: Freshly shredded parmesan, toasted Pine nuts, and fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Boil the water and cook the pasta. While the water is heating, chop the asparagus, mushrooms, and garlic.
  2. When the water begins to boil, add the pasta and heat a frying pan up for sauteeing the shrimp & vegies. Spray the pan with cooking spray, and when it’s hot, put in the asparagus, mushrooms, and garlic and sautee just a couple minutes, then add 1/4 cup of the wine. Cook a few minutes or until the asparagus is starting to look a little cooked (but still bright green), then add the shrimp and the rest of the wine and cook a few minutes longer or until the shrimp is cooked and the asparagus is crisp-tender. (It only takes a few minutes.)
  3. By now the pasta should be about done. Test it to see if it is. If it’s not, remove the shrimp/asparagus mixture from heat, and wait a minute or two. When the pasta is done, strain out the water, then return the pasta to the pan. Add the pesto and asparagus/shrimp mixture and stir until everything is mixed up well.
  4. Serve topped with a few toasted pine nuts, a bit of freshly shredded parmesan, and basil leaves for garnish.

Asparagus Pesto Rotini with Shrimp & Mushrooms

This is a #pastalove post!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other great #pastalove dishes!

This recipe was also shared at Mealtime MondayTuesday Talent Show, Delicious Dish TuesdayTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesdays, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Asparagus White Bean Pesto

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

I love pesto. Love love love love it! And Asparagus! Oh I can’t wait for spring every year so I can have asparagus … so last week I ran across this intriguing idea for Kale, Apsaragus & Chickpea pesto from Munchin with Munchkin and I just couldn’t put it down. Asparagus in pesto? and beans? … what a concept …

My pesto isn’t really very much like hers. I mean, I really couldn’t abandon my beloved basil. Or the parmesan … oh please, no, I must have my cheese! And while I love olive oil, I thought if you added asparagus and white beans, well, that would eliminate the need for having so much oil in the pesto. You could reduce the oil and still have a wonderful flavor that would stick to your pasta.

And what do you know? It worked! Beautifully. So get this: in one fell swoop, I upped the nutrition, protein, fiber, AND the flavor and lowered the fat and calories in the pesto. It’s such a wonderful thing! It’s sort of like a cross between pesto and hummus. Not only does it go well on pasta, it’s a great dip, a fantastic spread for a sandwich or wrap … or, um, well anything you could think of that you might do with pesto OR hummus.

Now how about them beans?

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

  • 1 cup raw asparagus, chopped (I used the stem ends of the asparagus, saving the “pretty top parts” for later …)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan
  • 1 cup cooked white beans, drained (save the juice though!)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup pinons
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Place all ingredients in a handi chopper or food processor and blend till smooth. If you need a little more liquid to get everything to blend nicely, add a bit of the liquid from the beans.

Asparagus White Bean Pesto

This recipe was shared at Mealtime MondayTuesday Talent ShowTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesdays, Tastetastic Thursdays, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Chive Flower, Mushroom, White Bean & Walnut Salad

Chive Flower, Mushroom, White Bean & Walnut Salad

My chives are growing like crazy right now and they’re in full bloom with big, beautiful purple flowers. They’ve taken over a big chunk of my raised bed already … Mom warned me that they would, but I’ve never had anything grow like that here . Perhaps it’s because the deer eat everything … except for the daffodils and the chives.

Their loss! I love them. Besides that they are gorgeous, I think chives taste marvelous. And chive flowers even moreso. While chives add sort of a subtle onion taste to a dish, chive flowers are more intense, little bursts of flavor.

And Dad gave me some beautiful fresh shelf mushrooms he found … I thought they’d go perfect with the chive flowers.

Chive flower, mushroom, white bean and walnut salad

Chive Flower, Mushroom, White Bean & Walnut Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Cooked white beans
  • Fresh mushrooms, sliced or torn into chunks
  • Fresh cut “shards” of parmesan cheese (thinly cut slices)
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Chive flowers
  • Avocado ranch salad dressing (recipe here)

Fill your bowl most of the way with greens, then toss on some beans, fresh mushrooms, parmesan, and walnuts. Tuck in the chive flowers and drizzle with avocado ranch.

Before you eat the salad, make sure you take a moment to savor the beauty of these flowers. Then dive into the taste of them … You might want to pull them apart and scatter them all over your salad.

Chive flower, mushroom, white bean and walnut salad

This recipe was shared at  Tastetastic ThursdaysFit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Manic Mondays.


Italian Garlic Pizza Crusts

Boboli Style Pizza Crust

This is another one of those recipes I’ve been making for years. It’s a Boboli-style pizza crust that is delicious plain … or topped with just about anything you like to put on a pizza. My son loves to eat this garlicky Italian “flatbread” plain, with no toppings. Sometimes my daughter and I will slice one into wedges and dip it in olive oil. I like to have a few in the freezer ready to top whenever we need a quick meal. This time I made them for my daughter’s birthday party. We thought the girls would enjoy making their own pizzas. It was a great hit, and so fun to see what each girl put on her pizza. One girl took a big sniff of the crust, exclaimed she could eat a whole one just like this, and took a few bites out of it before she put the toppings on her pizza. It was really cute.

Here’s the party setup with all the toppings set out. There’s just one problem with this setup: not enough meat. I use so many vegies on my pizzas and just a tiny bit of meat, I forget how much meat other people like on their pizza. We ran out of sausage and pepperoni. (Luckily I had some more in the freezer!)

Pizza Party

Italian Garlic (Boboli-Style) Pizza Crust

Adapted from Food.com. Makes 3 normal-size crusts or 6 individual-size crusts.

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water (plus extra if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Put the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. (It doesn’t have to be in exact order, just make sure to bury the garlic under the flour.)
  2. Put the bread machine on the dough setting and press start. A few minutes after starting, check the dough. If it’s not sticking together properly, add a little extra water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to form into a ball.
  3. When the dough cycle is complete, divide the dough into several equal parts. I’m making individual crusts for a teenage birthday party, so I divided mine into 6 parts. This makes a pretty good-sized individual crust. For smaller ones, divide into 8 pieces. For normal-sized pizza, divide into 3 parts.
  4. Shape each piece of dough into a disc shape, cover and let rest for a few minutes.
  5. One at a time (keeping the rest of the pieces covered) on a clean surface dusted with cornmeal, with a rolling pin, roll each piece of the dough into a circle. Mine turned out to be about 8 inches in diameter.
  6. If you have a pizza stone, set each round on a flat surface dusted with cornmeal that will allow you to easily slide the crust onto the stone. I used the back of my cookie sheets and a couple cutting boards. If not, put the pizza crusts on cookie sheets or pizza pans. Spray the crusts with cooking spray, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until the crusts are as thick as you want them. I wasn’t sure how thick the girls would want their crusts so I went for a medium rise; I think it took about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425, prick the crusts with a fork to keep them from puffing up in awkward spots, and bake until the crusts are golden brown. You can put these crusts in a bag and freeze them for future meals. They will keep well for a month or two.

Boboli Style Pizza Crust

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Thursday’s Treasures, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bread Bloghop.


Shrimp, Chicken & Asparagus Cellentani Pasta

in a Lowfat Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce

Shrimp & Chicken Asparagus Mushroom Pasta with Lowfat Garlic Cream Sauce

This is how I lighten up Fettucini Alfredo … except without the fettucini … because I just adore the swirly, curly shape of this cellentani.

This pasta dish is a delicious & elegant meal, a great way to use leftover chicken, and if you take a few minutes to get everything prepped and have the meat pre-cooked, it comes together in about 30 to 45 minutes. Just make the lowfat creamy sauce, sautee some lovely vegetables and throw it all together with the cooked shrimp and chicken.

The chicken breast was one I had marinated in a garlic-buttermilk mixture, then cooked on the grill the other night. Use any leftover chicken … or just skip the chicken and add more shrimp (or vice versa)!  The shrimp were just some frozen little shrimps I had in my freezer. Bigger shrimp would of course be more fancy shmancy if you’re serving this to company.

Shrimp & Chicken Asparagus Mushroom Pasta with Lowfat Garlic Cream Sauce

Shrimp, Chicken & Asparagus Cellentani in a Lowfat Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce

Makes 2 to 4 servings, depending on how hefty your eaters are.

  • 1 cup dry uncooked cellentani or cavatappi pasta (about 4 oz. … or use another shape … fettucine, linguini, ziti, or penne would all work too …)
  • 1 1/4 cups asparagus
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 – 2  Tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 oz. shrimp, pre-cooked
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • for garnish: freshly shredded parmesan, snipped chives and/or green onion and fresh basil leaves

Directions:

  1. First, make the garlic cream sauce (see below). You can make the sauce ahead of time to save steps at dinnertime –just keep it in the fridge in a covered container till you’re ready to use it.
  2. Start the water boiling to cook the pasta. While it’s heating up, chop and prep the vegetables, chicken and herbs and shred the cheese.
  3. When the water starts to boil, add the cellantani (or whatever pasta you are using).
  4. Heat a sautee pan over medium heat, spray with cooking spray, and add the asparagus, mushrooms, garlic and rosemary. Sautee just briefly, then add the wine. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoning mix–or just salt and pepper.) Cook for about 5 – 7 minutes or until the liquid from the wine and mushrooms has mostly evaporated, the mushrooms are tender and the asparagus is crisp tender.
  5. By this point, the pasta should be almost done. When it’s done, put it in a colander to drain out the water.
  6. To the sautee pan, add the sauce, shrimp, chicken, basil and tomato, then pour in the creamy sauce and the pasta. (You may not need all the sauce.) Stir everything together and cook until everything is hot and bubbly.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with a bit of shredded parmesan, some basil leaves and snipped green onion and/or chives (I used both). A nice salad and some garlic toast on the side would be marvelous.

Lowfat Garlic Cream Sauce (Alfredo-ish)

  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup low fat or skim milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter, then add the chopped garlic and sautee just for a minute or two to cook the garlic. Add the flour and stir to make a paste (or roux). Add the milk, lower the heat to medium, and whisk until the roux is dissolved in the milk and the sauce begins to thicken. Toss in the shredded parmesan, basil and nutmeg and stir, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Shrimp & Chicken Asparagus Mushroom Pasta with Lowfat Garlic Cream Sauce

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdaysFit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend Potluck, Everyday Mom’s Meals and Mealtime Mondays.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 570 other followers