Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Chocolate Chip Cookies

It has become a somewhat unofficial tradition to make chocolate chip cookies for Memorial back to when the King and I first started dating.  Today I thought I would sweeten that tradition up:

I added brownie chunks.  GREAT decision.
Try these:  Brownie Chunk and Chocolate Chip Cookies

*Side note:  These pictures were taken in my new, bigger, brighter kitchen.  That move might help explain my extended blogging vacation as well!

Monday, May 2, 2011


As a speech-language pathologist, and what I consider to be an honorary Italian, I have been working on the pronunciation of this word with the King since I met him 3 years ago:  "gnocchi" (pronounced "noh-kee").

To him it is ga-nah-chi.  Much like other Americans who do not have Italian influence somewhere in their lives.  This hurts my ears.  I'm pretty sure the King knows it. turns out I'm not alone!  There is even a facebook group for people that pronounce gnocchi heroes.

Gnocchi (noh-kee) are light, fluffy pillows of delicious-ness- typically made of potatoes or ricotta cheese.  The best ones melt in your mouth.

 Noh-kee or ga-nah-chi...this recipe is good.  And healthy.  And quick.  And melty.  And cheesy. 

So however you pronounce it...right or wrong, you need to eat these.

 Skillet Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi, (Trader Joe's is delicious)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add chard (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Magic Risotto

One of my favorite shows of all time is by far Gilmore Girls-thank you to my wonderful sister for introducing me to it.

It's fast paced and witty and I have even made the Crouton King a convert.  I am still waiting for a movie to come out and tie up some loose ends for me.  Like does she wind up with Jess or Dean?  And what does it say about me that I mostly root for Dean?

But, anyway, in one episode, Lorelai Gilmore's best friend, Sookie, and the chef at their inn gets a review from a food critic that her "magic risotto" tasted "fine".  This is a slap in the face because Sookie fed this same risotto to her mother on her deathbed and she lived three more years.  It was a miracle!

I made magic risotto tonight.  I am convinced it will add years to my life just like Sookie's.  The effects will not be immediate however.  The reason this risotto was so fantastically magical and will allow me to live on was because I didn't have to stand at the stove and become a slave to a spoon!  It was so freeing!

*Please note some stirring was required, but it was not ad nauseum which tends to be the case when making risotto the regular way.

So you add the key players to the pot and get them going on the stove, and then allow the magic to take place in the oven and it is just as good as typical risotto...if not better because you don't have tennis elbow and can actually lift your fork to your mouth.


 With a little cheese please...

"Magic Risotto" or Oven Baked Spinach and Pea Risotto
*From Real Simple Magazine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 ounces flat-leaf spinach, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce), plus more for serving
  1. Heat oven to 425° F. Heat the butter in a medium Dutch oven or ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring often, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth and rice and bring to a boil.
  2. Cover the pot and transfer to oven. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Add the peas, spinach, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the pot and stir to combine. If the risotto is too thick, stir in up to ¼ cup hot water. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan before serving.