#EasterWeek: Whipped Ricotta Salad

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Wait a minute.

Wasn’t it just Christmas?

Am I allowed to admit I feel like I haven’t reached a level of organization for 2018 yet?

And we’re talking Easter!?

Well, since we’re talking about it, might as well cook about it!

This year’s #EasterWeek, hosted by Christie of A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures, convenes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and providing you plenty of time to come up with your perfect Easter menu. (Easter is April 1st – that’s 13 days from now!)

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

To start your menu, I propose a light and bright, spring-timey salad.

This salad comes from the cookbook Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count … Without Stressing Out by Giada De Laurentiis and is featured in her Las Vegas restaurant.

I quite like ricotta cheese, but when I have leftovers I never know what to do with it besides make some lasagna, ravioli, or pasta sauce. I have done muffins before, which is quite delicious.

With an almost full container of ricotta in my refrigerator, I selected one of Giada’s cookbooks hoping she’d know what to do.

Guess what.

She does!

This salad is both refreshing and satisfying.

The basil vinaigrette paired with the fresh tomatoes and the creamy ricotta reminded me of a caprese salad.

Whipped Ricotta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 C packed fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp + 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 1 C whole milk ricotta cheese, chilled
  • 3 C baby greens salad mix (I used a blend of kale and spinach)
  • 1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved

Steps:

  1. Make dressing: Place basil, toasted pine nuts, vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes into a food processor and blend. Add in 3 tbsp of the olive oil until the dressing comes together. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric hand mixer, whip the ricotta with the remaining olive oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, gently toss the salad green, peas, and tomatoes with the dressing.
  4. Plate: Spoon whipped ricotta onto a plate and top with the salad. Serves 4-6 people.

Whipped Ricotta Salad for #EasterWeek from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Be sure to check out these other great Easter recipes:

Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Bunny Cinnamon Rolls by Family Around the Table

Bunny Mary by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Carrot Roll Cake by Cookaholic Wife

Chocolate Dipped Robin’s Egg Cookies by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Crunchy Easter Bird Nest Granola Bites by Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Deviled eggs with creme Fraiche and herbs by Simple and Savory

Easter M&M Blondies by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

Easter Mini Chocolate Rum Cupcakes by Daily Dish Recipes

Egg Benedict Quiche by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Orange Ricotta Pancakes by Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Puff Pastry Eggs with Ham and Cheese by All that’s Jas

Sausage and Spinach Pie by Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Tsoureki – Greek Easter Bread by Caroline’s Cooking

Whipped Ricotta Salad by Sew You Think You Can Cook

#FoodieExtravaganza: Chocolate

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It’s the first full week of October that means it’s time for another #FoodieExtravaganza!

Before I get into my schpeal about this wonderful group I have to take a moment and FREAK OUT. It’s OCTOBER. It’s the month that my baby boy turns ONE. How did this happen? You’d think having gone through it once already, I’d be prepared for it this time around. Nope!

Okay, sorry about that.

Within #FoodieExtravaganza, each month we take turns hosting and selecting a foodie holiday associated with that month. This month we’re celebrating anything and everything chocolate. Kathleen of  Fearlessly Creative Mammas is our spectacular host today.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a recipe from our favorite cookbook Brunch at Bobby’s so why not share these chocolate blintzes we made an embarrassingly long time ago. These crepe-like pancakes are folded around a chocolate ricotta filling. I opted to leave my chocolate chips whole instead of chopping them up and my husband and I had differing opinions on that technique. I enjoyed the bonus crunch that the chips provided, but he thought it made those bites a little too chocolate-forward.

Chocolate Blintzes with Chocolate Ricotta Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 C ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/3 C + 1 tbsp cocoa powder, divided use
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 C diced strawberries (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 2 C milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Steps:

  1. Combine the ricotta, powdered sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips (option to chop them) and strawberries. Cover and refrigerate 1-8 hours.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until pale. Add in the milk and melted butter.
  3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, remaining cocoa powder, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, stirring until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 2-24 hours.
  4. Pour 1/4 C batter into a small greased skillet. (I used non-stick cooking spray between each pancake) Swirl the pan around to create an even pancake. Once the blintz bubbles in the center, flip and cook another minute. Remove from skillet and fill with 2-3 tbsp of your filling. Fold blintzes like you would an enchilada.

*This recipe is modified from Brunch at Bobby’s*

Chocolate Blintzes with Chocolate Ricotta Filling for #FoodieExtravaganza from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Be sure to check out these other chocolate filled recipes:

Holy Mole Pork Stew from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Triple Chocolate and Cream Trifle from Fearlessly Creative Mammas

2 Kiss Cupcakes from Sneha’s Recipe

Chocolate Lovers Dream Cake from Cookin and Craftin

Kahlua Chocolate Cake from Making Miracles

Queen Anne Squares from Tara’s Multicultural Table

Hot Fudge Cheesecake Brownies from Cookaholic Wife

Nutty Chocolate Fudge from Basic N Delicious

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars from A Day in the Life on the Farm

Slow Cooker Chicken Mole from Caroline’s Cooking

Simple Chocolate Cake from Passion Kneaded

Chocolate Rugelach from Hardley a Goddess

Crispy Chocolate Surprise Balls from G’Gina’s Kitchenette

Marshmallow Turtle Bars from Food Lust People Love

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins from Not Too Shabby Gabby

If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you’re a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Orange Ricotta Pancakes

orange ricotta pancakes 2  Sew You Think You Can CookI love finding new ways to use ricotta cheese. I almost always have leftover ricotta cheese whenever I cook with it, and that tub makes its way to the back of the fridge to be completely forgotten. Instead of letting that ricotta go to waste I add it to the weekend’s breakfast menu!

These pancakes were the first recipe we made from our favorite Brunch at Bobby’s. We served them with Almond Butter Syrup. Bobby suggested serving these pancakes with a fig compote and some pistachios.

Just like all breakfast sweets, Firecracker ate these up, so I loved getting the extra punch of protein from the ricotta.

*If you can find fresh ricotta, use that. However, allowing the more commonly found ricotta cheese to drain through a fine strainer for an hour is an acceptable substitute. (That’s definitely what I did!)

Orange Ricotta Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 C fresh ricotta, or see note* above
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Steps:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the ricotta, milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and orange zest.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Using a handheld electric mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently fold in the egg whites.
  5. On a hot buttered griddle drop 1/4 C of batter into pancakes. When bubbles form and start to pop flip the pancakes and cook until golden on both sides.

orange ricotta pancakes 1  Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

#MuffinMonday: Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Muffin Monday

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins to brighten their Mondays. And I’ve decided to join in the fun! I’ve been a part of this group for a couple of months now but today is the first day I am able to post with the gang. There isn’t a theme to #MuffinMonday posts so anything goes, as long as it’s a muffin!

We went through a spell with Firecracker where the only thing he’d eat was a waffle. I became creative in adding some extra nutrition to the breakfast item through apples, sweet potatoes, and Greek yogurt. The waffle obsession has slowed if not died and I’m happy to report the adventurous eater is slowly reemerging. I’m looking forward to continuing to post with this group once a month as it seems muffins offer another food medium to sneak in some good nutrition.

Today’s muffins are filled with ricotta cheese and lemon. The ricotta cheese provides extra protein and calcium and yields perfectly light and fluffy muffins.

I’ve had this recipe on my radar for 11 months and finally had some leftover ricotta (from Thanksgiving) to make it! (I’ve been using my leftover ricotta for pasta instead.) Tara’s muffins are much prettier than mine because she put coarse sugar over the top.

This recipe makes 1 dozen kid-approved muffins.

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 C flour
  • 3/4 C cake flour
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 C ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (I used Nielsen-Massey)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In an other bowl fold together the egg, ricotta, water, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. DO NOT OVER MIX.
  5. Divide batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out cleanly. Allow muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

*This recipe is adapted from Tara at http://tarasmulticulturaltable.com/lemon-ricotta-muffins/*

lemon ricotta muffins for #MuffinMonday from Sew You Think You Can Cook

And don’t forget to check out these other muffin recipes:

Bacon Cheddar Corn Muffins from Making Miracles

Banana Cranberry Muffins from A Day in the Life on the Farm

Banana Streusel Muffins from All Roads from Lead to the Kitchen

Healthy Morning Glory Muffins from Farm Fresh Feasts

Lemon Ricotta Muffins from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Savory Corn Bread Muffins from Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Sticky Toffee Bran Muffins from Food Lust People Love

You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday can be found on our home page

Roasted Garlic Spinach Pizza with Chicken

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!IMG_5279 (2)

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. Mash the cooled garlic cloves and stir into the ricotta, basil, honey, and oregano. Season to taste with S+P.
  4. 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/*

Roasted Garlic Spinach Pizza | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Sausage

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!)

IMG_2976I 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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Steps:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
  2. 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.
  3. In a bowl whisk together ricotta, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and season to taste with S+P.
  4. In a large bowl toss together pasta, sausage, and ricotta sauce.

*This recipe is adapted from Cooking from the Farmers’ Market*

Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Sausage | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Turkey Lasagna

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.

Lasagna - Sew You Think You Can CookNo-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.

IMG_4253 (2)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.

Turkey Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 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

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. In a bowl, combine the spinach and ricotta. Season to taste with S+P.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Turkey Lasagna | Sew You Think You Can Cook