Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Rosemary Parmesan Cream Sauce

Thanksgiving week is here!

Since I know my workouts might be lighter towards the end of the week, I hit the studio I teach at extra early for a solo Monday morning workout before I got the rest of my day started.  I love starting the day with a good workout.  Today I actually have fun plans – lunch with a college friend that now lives in Texas.  She’s here visiting family and I’m thrilled we were able to sneak in a little lunch date.  Post-lunch, I’m off to Trader Joe’s to do my Thanksgiving grocery haul so that I can get started on turkey day prep.

I had plans to share some cookies with you today but I just can’t keep last night’s dinner from you.  It was that good.  And I quote, “this is in the top 5 fall dinners ever” – Big Guy.  Yes, it was that good.

We used some of our homegrown sweet potatoes to make sweet potato gnocchi that was then tossed with the richest, most delicious rosemary parmesan cream sauce.  Gnocchi isn’t all that hard to make – it’s a simple mixed of cooked sweet potato (I used the microwave to cook and then riced them), ricotta, an egg, flour and salt.  That’s it!  Mix and then roll into “ropes” that you then cut into bite size pieces.  The gnocchi cooks in boiling water and they tell you when they’re done by floating to the top.  The sauce was made by browning butter and then adding in rosemary, cream, freshly grated parm, freshly grated nutmeg, a little but of cayenne, and some salt and pepper.

ricottagnocchi

I can’t even describe this deliciousness.  The gnocchi are tender and a little sweet and the parmesan cheese sauce is perfection.  I loved the hint of heat from the cayenne.

I’m trying to figure out when I can make this dinner again – I’m thinking when my parents come to visit sometime in the near future.  My dad would LOVE this meal.

And since I teased you with a promise of a cookie recipe, I’ll be back tomorrow with that!

Advertisements

Hummus Soup

One of my favorite dips in soup form!  Y’all know I’m not a soup fan…until it gets cold.  And well this week it’s been quite chilly, especially with workers in and out of the house – I feel like I can’t keep the house warm.  But a warm bowl of soup can make even the chilliest of evenings a little bit cozier.

The soup is garlicky and smooth and seriously tastes likes your favorite brand of garlic hummus.  Onions and garlic are sautéed in olive oil before adding in stock and water, the base of the soup.  Bring that to a simmer and add in your chickpeas – the main ingredient in hummus.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  The mixture is then pureed in a blender until silky, smooth before adding in the tahini (I think Trader Joe’s makes the best) and lemon juice.  Whirl a few more times in the blender to mix everything up.

The soup is topped with feta cheese for a little saltiness as well as crunchy chickpeas.  I loved the contrast of texture that the chickpeas brought to the bowl of soup.  To make the crunchy chickpeas, simply cook a cup of chickpeas in a tablespoon of olive oil until crispy and browned.

hummussoup

I absolutely love this soup.  It’s garlicky, silky and absolutely warming to your soul on a chilly fall evening.

Behind the Scenes

Not everything I cook ends up on the blog.  Sometimes I honestly forget to snap a picture.  Other times, especially now with the time change, the pictures just don’t do the food justice.  But I hate to not share recipes with you especially when they are so delicious.  So here are a few recipes we’ve made at home over the past month that are just now making the blog.

chocolate-caramel-bread-pudding-2

Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole.  While this dinner took a little time to prep, it’s perfect for a weeknight because it can be made in advance and then cooked right before it’s dinnertime.  Additionally, I thought the leftovers were even better than the “first round.” Prep and cook this casserole on a Sunday afternoon and then simply reheat one evening for dinner.

Apple Cheddar Pies.  You must make these and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  Unreal.

Snickers Bread Pudding.  So this totally happened on Saturday evening and it was everything I imagined and more.  I’ve actually never made bread pudding but I loved that this recipe is scaled down for two servings – which is perfect because it’s rather indulgent and I don’t need to eat it all week.  I used Snickers instead of Rolo’s because we had some leftover from Halloween.

Marinated Bistecca Fiorentina.  A fancy way to saying “grilled ribeye.”  The ribeye is seasoned with garlic, rosemary, thyme and lemon zest before being grilled and then finished in the oven.  A grilled lemon is squeezed on top before slicing.  We served this with White Beans and Kale.  I loved the addition of lemon with the ribeye – it really cut some of the fat and brightened up the whole dish.

My Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich.  I had a random “craving” for a fried chicken sandwich a couple of weekends ago and this hit the spot.  It made a mess but was quite delicious.  I just wish we would have added some pickles to the sandwich.  The crunch of the fried crust was everything.

Brussels Sprout, Pecan and Blue Cheese Pull Apart Pizza Bread.  Perfect dinner while watching college football one Saturday.  Big Guy was a little skeptical while we were prepping the bread but now that we’ve done it once I think it would come together so much easier the next time.  I loved the flavors and have to admit we added some bacon to the mix.  Because, well, bacon.

Birthday Steak Frites:  Bone-In Rib Eye with Curry Sauce and Curly Fries.  I love fries.  But I feel a whole lot less guilty about eating them when we make them from scratch.  And while curry + steak + fries may sound weird, it was incredible.

And make sure to follow me on Pinterest – I pin EVERYTHING I make on this board so you’ll never miss out on a awesome recipe that’s floating around out there.

Turmeric Chicken-and-Chickpea Soup

This past Sunday I wanted something comforting but that would also give me leftovers for the week to come.  Chicken noodle soup is known to many as one of the ultimate comfort foods.  Perhaps it’s what your mom made you when you were sick.  Or maybe it was just your favorite warm bowl on a cold winter day.  In this soup recipe, the noodles are swapped for chickpeas to not only add texture up to boost the fiber (meaning it will keep you full longer).  And for maximum flavor (and health benefits), the soup is seasoned with turmeric, garlic and ginger.

The recipe starts by browning a pound a chicken thighs (Trader Joe’s for the win) in a little EVOO.  You are not cooking the chicken all the way through at this point – just getting the cooking started.  Remove the chicken after cooking for about three minutes on each side and then add in the red bell pepper (our garden is still pumping out gorgeous peppers!) and onion.  Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes, and then add in the turmeric (a yellow spice that is FULL of healthy benefits), garlic and ginger along with salt and pepper.  Cook for one minute before adding in the chicken broth and chickpeas.  You will also add in the chicken and then bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  The smell will already bring you comfort!

Once the chicken is cooked through, remove and shred before adding back into the soup along with coconut milk, fresh torn basil and fresh lime juice.  Cook for five more minutes and serve.

turmericsoup

And while the weather wasn’t quite “soup weather” on Sunday, it made me feel warm and cozy while I watched another Christmas movie on Hallmark.  And I might have made the evening even better with a few pieces of dark chocolate after my soup.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Roasted Veggies

November 1st.  How did that happen?  I’m actually pretty excited to see November.  I love the holiday season.  But just because October has come and gone, don’t think I’m going to stop with the “pumpkin.”  I actually love pumpkin.  And in this mac and cheese pumpkin not only adds lots of nutrition but it makes the mac and cheese super creamy and will make you feel like you’re eating the cheesiest bowl of noodles.

The mac and cheese is made even more nutrition by adding in roasted veggies:  brussels sprouts and cauliflower.  While the veggies are roasting, start boiling your noodle water. Feel free to use whatever noodle you want – I went with a gluten free spiral noodle.  The cheese part of this mac and cheese is a mixture of gouda and cheddar.  Yum.  Go ahead and grate that so that it’s ready when you are.

When you have about 10 minutes left of roasting, cook your pasta and make your cheese sauce.  Simply sauté onion in a little butter before adding the flour of your choice to thicken the mixture.  Mix well and then whisk in chicken stock (or veggie if you want to keep it vegetarian) and milk.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg – my favorite fall spice.  This is where you’ll add in the canned pumpkin.  Stir until the pumpkin completely mixes in and then add in your cheese and stir until melted.  Finally add in the cooked noodles and roasted veggies.

pumpkinmac

Incredibly creamy and the “orange” of the pumpkin makes you feel like you’re eating Velveeta Mac and Cheese.  Except this one is a whole lot healthier.

 

Loaded Philly Cheesesteak Baked Potato

I’m not going to lie, Tuesday and Wednesday weren’t the best days of my pregnant life.  Week 24 seems to have brought a weird stomachache along with some heartburn and a lack the desire to really eat anything.  Me not wanting to eat is REALLY weird – I always like food – happy, sad, stressed…I eat.  Basically I just don’t feel like myself and while I want to complain and play the pregnancy card, I’ve tried to rally and be thankful for how healthy I have felt the entire time.  I’m hoping that this is a short phase and that I’ll be back to “normal” in no time.

But you’re here for food…so here’s a peak at dinner this past Monday.  It was a good one.

A meat and potatoes dinner that isn’t a steak and roasted potatoes.  Instead, the famous cheesesteak sandwich is turned into a stuffed baked potato for a nutritious, filling and delicious feeling that your whole family will love.

You can either cook your potatoes in the microwave or in the oven (I prefer the oven if I have the time, I think the skin is so much better).  Thinly sliced steak is seared after being seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  The steak needs less than two minutes to cook – so watch it.  Remove the beef and add in your peppers, onions and mushrooms and sauté until softened.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the potatoes in half and top with the veggies plus the beef and then a generous amount of cheeeeeeese.  Broil until the cheese is melted and then dig in.

cheesesteakpotato

I loved this spin on a classic and found that while it was meaty and cheesy, it wasn’t heavy.

Oh, and our garden is still producing lots of bell peppers which is one benefit of still having warm weather.

Pumpkin Pasta with Balsamic Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Despite the summer-like weather on Sunday, we had the most fall-filled day.  After Big Guy being away all week and then me being away all weekend we felt quite like ships passing in the dark.  Thankfully we were able to spend quality time on Sunday afternoon together.  Not only did we visit the pumpkin patch and put together our “fall” display in the front yard, but we made a fall-inspired dinner of pumpkin pasta.  

The pasta requires only two ingredients.  That’s right, two.  In a food processor, pulse together one can of pumpkin puree with flour until it forms a dough ball.  From there, the pasta noodles come together quite easily if you have the pasta attachment for your Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.

The sauce is made by browning butter with whole garlic cloves and fresh sage leaves.  Once brown, remove the sage and garlic, and add in white wine and balsamic vinegar.  Allow the sauce to simmer before adding in your cooked pasta.  Toss and then serve with roasted pumpkin seeds, manchego cheese and fresh nutmeg (my special addition).

pumpkinpasta

This dinner hit the spot.  Not only did it feed my belly but it was nice to enjoy a stress-free (well, mostly stress free…the pasta water pot overflowed and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty) meal together after a long week away from Big Guy.

Pumpkin in food – like it, love it or hate it?  

I’m all about REAL pumpkin being in food but I find that some of the “pumpkin spice” items are taking things a little far…like been jerky.  Just no.