Whenever we go to Olive Garden my husband can’t help but order their Stuffed Chicken Marsala. He tries. He says he’s not going to do it – because he always wipes the plate clean – and every time Stuffed Chicken Marsala ends up being brought to our table and placed in front of him.
Not being a mushroom lover, I’ve actually never even tried it!
But when I got the idea for Marsala ravioli – honestly, I can’t even remember where the inspiration hit – I decided to give it a go.
Making the ravioli was another one of those, never-thought-I’d-do-that moments. I’m talking about putting meat in my food processor. Pureed meat has always given me the heebie jeebies (but I do like Liverwurst and pate… I’m odd). It’s one of the main reasons I decided to introduce my babies to food using the baby led weaning method. The filling for the ravioli isn’t pureed to a smooth consistency though, it just needs to be insanely finely minced so it can fit inside the pasta.
Like all of my ravioli recipes, I used wonton wrappers.
I’d assembled enough ravioli to freeze for two more meals! Good thing too because meal number one involved a sauce that wasn’t too great and was horribly photographed. Meal number two had a fantastically delcious sauce that this mushroom lover sopped up but photographs were still pretty bland. Meal number three was perfect and photographed decently – I didn’t forget the fresh parsley for garnishing my bowl of pasta this time!
The ravioli recipe comes from Tyler Florence and the sauce recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis.
Chicken Marsala Ravioli
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided use
- 3/4 lb chicken breast, cubed
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/4 C Marsala wine
- 4 slices prosciutto, chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided use
- 1 egg
- 1/4 C heavy cream
- 2 packages wonton wrappers
- Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken until golden on both sides and fully cooked. Add the shallot and garlic and cook a minute.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine, bring to a quick bubble and add the prosciutto, bay leaves, and parsley. Allow Marsala to reduce a little and thicken. Stir in the bread crumbs, 1 tbsp Parmesan, and 1 tbsp olive oil.
- Remove the bay leaves and transfer filling mixture to a food processor. Add the egg, cream, and the remaining Parmesan and olive oil. Pulse until the filling comes together. Season to taste with S+P. Chill.
- Assemble ravioli: place a small spoonful of the filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Wet the edges and fold into a triangle.
- Cook ravioli in boiling salted water 2 minutes, until they float and the wonton is translucent.
*This recipe is adapted from Tyler Florence at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/chicken-marsala-ravioli-filling-recipe.html*
Marsala Mushroom Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided use
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp flour
- 1/3 C Marsala wine
- 1 1/4 C chicken broth
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the mushrooms for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the shallot, season with salt, and cook 2 more minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the flour and remaining oil to form a paste. Stir in the wine until smooth. Add the broth and simmer 5-10 minutes.
*This recipe is adapted from Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis*
I love pizza, of almost any variety. Red sauce, barbecue, white sauce, or buffalo are all good in my book. There are a couple of fun pizza places near us that do highly creative flavors using bean spreads in lieu of sauce, too. Still delicious!
The pizza I’m sharing with you today is a white sauce based pizza topped with spinach and chicken. Feel free to omit the chicken for a deliciously satisfying vegetarian option.
The ricotta mixture that creates the white sauce is flavored with freshly roasted garlic and has a little touch of sweetness from honey. If you’re feeding this to an under-one-year-old then feel free to substitute agave, sugar, or even omit it entirely. This mixture would be heavenly as a ravioli filling or even as an extra flavor booster to lasagna. Seriously, yum!
I was surprised that my then almost 13 month old scarfed down this pizza. If I put it in front of him today I don’t think it’d be met with the same enthusiasm. Apparently almost 15 months yields a picky-eating, food-refusal stage?
Roasted Garlic Spinach Pizza with Chicken
- 1 head garlic
- olive oil
- 1 pizza crust (I used a refrigerated whole wheat crust)
- 1 C ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh basil (I used Gourmet Garden stir-in basil paste)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 box (9 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped
- 2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut off the top of the head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil and salt, wrap in foil and roast 30-40 minutes until tender and golden. Let cool.
- Mash the cooled garlic cloves and stir into the ricotta, basil, honey, and oregano. Season to taste with S+P.
- Follow the directions on the pizza dough (prebake if necessary); top pizza crust with ricotta mixture, spinach, chicken, and mozzarella. Bake according to package directions (for me, 17 minutes at 400degF).
*This recipe is adapted from Kare at http://www.kitchentreaty.com/roasted-garlic-spinach-white-pizza-with-optional-chicken/*
Up until I discovered this pasta recipe, I never knew what to do with leftover ricotta cheese. I actually wasn’t quite sure if I even cared for ricotta outside of ravioli filling and lasagna layers. This quick recipe has changed how I feel about ricotta! I will be more open to other uses of ricotta. I now never worry about if the container I bought is too big because if I can’t find something else to do with it, I can make this pasta. Something I have done four times already (once without the meat, too!)
I chose to use veggie fusilli pasta in an effort to “sneak” veggies into my son’s mouth. (I know it doesn’t yield the best photographs.) He has loved this pasta each and every time. He now doesn’t discriminate against certain colored pasta, but the first time we enjoyed this dish he picked his way around the green spinach noodles. I also added Italian sausage as I knew my husband wouldn’t consider this a real meal. Feel free to omit the sausage (increase the garlic to 1 tbsp and saute very quickly in the oil. Add the entire garlicky oil mix to the ricotta sauce) if you prefer and make this a great side dish.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Sausage
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 links Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 lb fusilli pasta
- 1 C ricotta cheese
- 1 C heavy cream
- zest of 2 lemons
- juice of 1 lemon
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
- In a small skillet, brown the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks. When the sausage is almost cooked through, add the garlic and saute another minute or two. Remove from heat and set aside, draining any extra fat if needed.
- In a bowl whisk together ricotta, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and season to taste with S+P.
- In a large bowl toss together pasta, sausage, and ricotta sauce.
*This recipe is adapted from Cooking from the Farmers’ Market*
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
Fun fact: It’s National Lasagna Day!
It’s quite baffling to realize that I have had this blog for over two years now and have yet to share my lasagna recipe! I played off of it for a fancier version with lasagna roll ups last February.
No-boil noodles are the secret to making this dish easy to whip up. They don’t have that wavy shape of traditional lasagna noodles, but they make spreading ricotta on them as simple as spreading butter on toast. I like to sneak in extra veggies, too; bell pepper and onion join the ground turkey and I mix chopped fresh spinach in with the ricotta cheese. A double helping of cheese (mozzarella in every layer with the ricotta) doesn’t hurt anything either!
When I would have to travel for work I liked to prepare a lasagna the night before I left so my husband would have something to eat in my absence. (It’s also a great option to take to someone’s house in the event of a new baby’s arrival!) I most recently made this particular lasagna (read: this [poorly] photographed lasagna) the night before I took the little man to Florida for a friend’s wedding.
I’m happy to report that even my little man loved my lasagna! I was astounded by how much he devoured. I do think it was my favorite lasagna to date! I have a couple of theories as to why this one tasted better: whole milk ricotta cheese and Parmesan Romano marinara sauce – both of which are Kroger brands.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 bell pepper, diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 lb ground turkey (you could increase this up to 2 lb if you like a meatier lasagna)
- 1/2 C chopped baby spinach
- 1 container (15 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese
- no boil lasagna noodles
- 3 C shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 jar (24 oz) marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute onion and bell pepper in olive oil. When onion is translucent add the garlic and cook 60 seconds. Add the turkey to the pan and cook through, breaking up as you go. Seasoning with S+P.
- In a bowl, combine the spinach and ricotta. Season to taste with S+P.
- Layer the lasagna: Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Spread some of the ricotta mixture on the noodles and place in the dish (break up noodles as needed to fit your dish – I used a total of 7) ricotta side up. Top with half of the turkey mixture, half of the remaining sauce, and half of the mozzarella. Repeat with a second layer.
- Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and cook another 5-10, or until bubbly and golden. (Note: If you prepare the lasagna ahead of time, remove from fridge while oven is preheating and add an extra 5-10 minutes to the covered bake time.) Allow lasagna to cool for 5 minutes before cutting or it will fall apart.
I used to not like soup. Really it’s the method of eating soup that I have a problem with. I have a condition. I do NOT like my lips touching my silverware. Just one of my many quirks (another is that I absolutely hate water on my face – I am constantly wiping the water droplets off my face in the shower – seriously, it’s a problem)!
It wasn’t until my discovery of Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup that I really gave soup a chance – but then again I ate it with practically an entire loaf of bread instead of a spoon. I’m much better with eating soups now and manage to eat them with a spoon, although I’ve found a way around my lips touching the utensil.
When we moved to Ohio I ended up making a lot of soups. Almost a soup a month! There’s just something about those cold, grey days. Soups are also a great way to introduce lots of flavor to my little man and so far he’s liked every soup he’s tried (for the record, that’s a grand total of two).
I decided to omit the heavy cream from the recipe and added in a little extra beef broth. Which is surprising. I typically put cream in everything if the option exists. My mom was visiting, though, and in an effort to lighten up the soup I kept an open mind and tasted the soup before adding the cream. We all decided it wasn’t necessary. In fact, I think it would’ve muddled the sausage, potatoes, and bacon.
- 5 slices of center cut bacon, diced
- 5 links sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 5 C beef broth
- 2 potatoes, chopped
- 3 C fresh spinach
- 1 C parmesan cheese, divided use
- Cook bacon in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
- Cook sausage in the same dutch oven, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove to the same plate as the bacon. Drain all but 1 tbsp of the fat from the pot.
- Cook onion in the dutch oven until tender. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return bacon and sausage to the pot. Add in the beef broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
- Add the spinach to the soup and 3/4 C of the cheese. Cook an additional 5 minutes over medium heat until the spinach is completely wilted and incorporated into the soup. Serve with remaining paremsan cheese.
*This recipe is adapted from Aimee at http://www.foodfanatic.com/2014/05/zuppa-toscana-italian-soups-on/*
Alex Guarnaschelli is one of those Food Network stars that I would just love to meet. I stalk her instagram account and Facebook page to see everything she’s cooking up in the kitchen. My favorite posts are those in which she states her cravings – from bacon and pancakes, to ice cream and salad. I even follow the instagram account for her restaurant Butter. As if eating at her establishment wasn’t already on my bucket list, seeing photos of gourmet burgers, elegant breakfasts, and creative desserts makes me wish I could hop on a plane to NYC at the drop of a hat.
Two Christmases ago I received her first cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook. I’ve already shared her Breaded Chicken with Mustard and Sherry. Today I’m sharing another chicken dish. Alex titled this recipe Braised Chicken Legs with Ginger and Tomato. I’ve renamed it as you can see in today’s post title. I bought only thighs for this dish as a combination of thighs and drumsticks wasn’t available at my grocery store. I also found that the cinnamon flavor profile was stronger than the ginger. You might think it’s weird to cook chicken with cinnamon, but trust me on this one. No, trust Alex! She says:
“[My mom] edited an amazing Indian cookbook that made her revise the chicken tomato combo and add hauntingly flavorful spices like cinnamon, which evokes the sweetness of the tomatoes.”
I hardly ever cook with chicken thighs. My mom is a bone-less, skin-less chicken breast kind of girl and so that’s what I am also accustomed to, and what I usually buy when chicken is on my list. It’s easy. Because using dark meat isn’t something I’m exactly comfortable with, I’m never convinced I’ve cooked it completely. White meat is more obvious – zero pink and juices run clear. Dark meat doesn’t turn white. And when there’s a bone involved there’s usually some red/pink close to the bone which always makes me paranoid that I didn’t really cook it through all the way. I bought a giant pack of chicken thighs though, so there’s lot of practice in my future.
For this dish, I was really excited when my chicken skins were crispy after browning them. But then they get braised and that crispy skin is no more. Keeping the skin on the chicken though helps ensure that the meat won’t dry out.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Cinnamon and Tomato
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1″ piece of ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 C white wine
- 1 can (14 oz) peeled whole tomatoes
- 1 tbsp butter
- In a large, high-sided skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Season both sides of chicken with S+P and red pepper flakes. Add to the hot oil skin-side down. Brown for 8 minutes, flip and cook another 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add the onions and stir in the cumin. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Add in the white wine and cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and cook simmer 10 minutes.
- Gently break up the tomatoes. Return the chicken to the pan. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in butter and remove cinnamon and bay leaf. Serve with wild rice.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
After we found out we’d be moving to Ohio I started to do some Facebook research on the spouse group connected to my husband’s organization here. I was excited to discover that there were multiple clubs and plenty of opportunities to get to know people.
One of the groups is the Recipe Club. You can imagine that I was excited for this one! It took five months before I could fit this extracurricular activity into my new mom schedule. I could have gone in December and was prepared to bring Broccoli and Grape Pasta Salad but I came down with a winter fever the night before.
Last week I was not only able to attend, but the theme of the night of “New Recipes” (something you’ve never tried before) fit in perfectly with a food blogger’s normal kitchen routine. The meatballs I was even planning to make could easily be adjusted to feed more and bring to the potluck-style event. Don’t worry, I did hold a few back for Stuart.
If you bring these to a party you can make them a but smaller than I did (or not!) and provide marinara for dipping. If you have these for dinner just whip up a quick batch of pasta! The leftovers can easily be made into an epic sandwich, too.
Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
- 1 1/2 lb ground turkey
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 C Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 20 cubes mozzarella, from approximately 4 oz
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- In a large bowl, use your hands or a wooden spoon to combine the ground turkey with garlic, eggs, parmesan, breadcrumbs, and S+P.
- Form balls from 1 tbsp of the meat mixture. Place a cube of cheese into the ball, grab a little more of the meat mixture and seal it up. Repeat until all the meat is used up – I got 20 golfball sized meatballs.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown meatballs 2 minutes on each side. (I had to do this in two batches of 10.)
- Bake meatballs in a lightly greased casserole dish for 10-13 minutes, or until cooked through.
*This recipe is modified from Kayle at http://www.cookingactress.com/2014/12/mozzarella-stuffed-meatballs.html*