Tag Archives: ricotta

Faith in Love

Vanilla Ricotta Bread

Vanilla Ricotta Bread

Following behind again with /52weeksofcooking but only one week behind so that’s not tooooo horrible – right?  Anyway, last week the theme for /52weeks was (is?) vanilla!  Simple enough ingredient but of course I couldn’t do something simple, I had to think of something non-dessert.  Which is why I’m a week late with posting this deliciously amazing Vanilla Ricotta Bread.  While I debated going full savory with vanilla, and also debated going crafty with vanilla (bad idea), in the end I decided to go with something somewhat familiar in order to lessen the odds of full failure.   I had made a ricotta bread a few months ago, pre-move, but it was just a bit blah.  I had expected the ricotta bread to have a sweetness to it, nothing as crazy as ricotta cookies – but maybe somewhat close.  Which led me to the awesome decision to add vanilla extract to the bread, and it worked!

Faith in Love

Serves: Yields 1 Medium Loaf

Serves 12-14

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter/margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to bread machine in specified order - for mine all dry ingredients (but yeast) go first followed by the liquid ingredients.
  2. Add yeast to bread machine's yeast container, or directly to the mixture.
  3. Set bread machine to standard and if you have the option set loaf to medium.
  4. Allow to cool for at least 30 minute before attempting to cut as bread is very fluffy.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/02/faith-in-love.html

This bread was fantastic fresh, awesome toasted with butter and jam, and scrumptious with nutella.

Over Unannounced

Potato & Beet Casserole

Potato Beet Casserole

One of the best parts of traveling, in my opinion, if is trying new and exciting and (hopefully) delicious dishes!  One of the best parts of getting home (outside of seeing hubby and puppies) is getting in to the kitchen and attempting to recreate some of those dishes.  After my UK and Ireland adventures I knew that I had to recreate the incredible dish I had in Ireland at Cornucopia – even though I had no idea how on earth to do that.  I knew the ingredients (beets, potatoes, spinach, cheese, and phyllo) but outside of that I had no idea what needed to be done.  Since beets and I are just getting used to each other I decided to grate them, figuring the smaller amounts might blend better with the other vegetables as well as reasoning that round discs might tempt me to just remove them.  The other thing to figure out was the phyllo dough on top but some quick Googling proved that it could be done.   Once I had finished with the research and planning it was time to head to the kitchen, with some pasta and pesto on hand just in case it didn’t work out.

Over Unannounced

Serves 5-6 (main), Serves 8-10 (side)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb butter potatoes, well washed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 sweet potatoes, sliced 1/4 in thick
  • 3 medium sized beets, well washed and finely grated
  • 5 cups fresh spinach, roughly torn and divided
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, divided
  • 4 sheets phyllo dough, torn into strips 1in thick
  • 1 tbsp melted butter

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat and add the butter potatoes, bring to a boil then add a dash of salt and cook for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain, rise with cold water, and then return to the pan. Add the butter and pepper and mix well - set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the cayenne pepper and garlic and cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side until slightly brown. Set aside
  3. Preheat oven to 425 and lightly grease a large casserole dish.
  4. Place 1/3 of the grated beets on the bottom of the casserole dish, then add a layer of the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, and ricotta. Continue layering ending with the ricotta cheese. Top with the phyllo dough, making sure that the dough is at least 2 sheets thick. Brush on the melted butter. Bake for 40 minutes or until phyllo is brown around the edges. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/06/over-unannounced.html

There is something to be said about a pink dish – it just goes well with everything!  While I served this as a simple vegetarian main it would also be a great side dish for company as it comes together quickly and looks rather impressive coming out of the oven.  Still not sure about other versions of beets but after the success of this dish I’m willing to give them a try again, we’ll see how that goes!

Potato Beet Casserole

I’m also sending this treat over to Ren‘s fabulous Simple and in Season since it highlights two vegetables that are popping up in local gardens: spinach and beets! I didn’t grow either of this year due to my trip but my summer veggies are starting to take off so I see lots of peppers, eggplants, carrots, and tomatoes in my near future!

New Friends

Spinach & Zucchini “Lasagna”

Spinach & Zucchini Pasta Bake

Bonus Secret Recipe Club entry!!!!  I’m a member of Group A of the Secret Recipe club but this month I was called in to assist a member of Group B that wound up orphaned.  As soon as I saw the name of the blog I knew I was in for a delicious treat as Heather’s Fit  Mama Real Food blog is stuffed with healthy and easy dishes.  I drove right in to her recipe page as I knew I had no time to lose with this – I needed to pick a WOW recipe NOW.  With the help of my husband I was able to narrow it down to a few (applesauce! refried beans!) options (carrot cake DONUTS!!!), all of which only required a quick stop by the store on the way home.  In the end I avoided the cream cheese icing (seriously??? carrot cake donuts!!!) and went with a healthy dinner option: Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna.  I had to make a few changes to the recipe (ricotta for cottage cheese) and also changed it from a lasagna to a pasta bake since I wanted the dish to be done before the incoming storm (and potential power loss).  Honestly this recipe is more like two recipes since you get a simply awesome tomato sauce as a bonus!

Spinach and Zucchini Pasta Bake

serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, diced into moons (sliced in half length ways, then small moon shaped pieces)
  • 4 cups frozen spinach, thawed and the excess water pressed out
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 16 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb whole white rigatoni
  • 12 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot over medium-low heat, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sauce, garlic, basil and half the sea salt. Simmer uncovered while you prep the remaining ingredients.
  2. Add the zucchini to a medium skillet (coated with olive oil spray) and cook over medium-high heat until the zucchini is browned and soft. Set aside. Add the onion next and cook until soft and translucent. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, boil water and cook noodles until al dente - drain and set aside.
  4. Combine ricotta chese with eggs, pepper, the remaining sea salt, and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl or food processor.
  5. Place a scoop of the tomato sauce in a 13×9 in baking dish, making sure to spread it along the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Spoon in a third of the noodles, then a third of the ricotta cheese (spreading evenly), following with another spoonful of sauce. Repeat - finish the final layer with the grated mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake at 375 for 30-35 min. Let stand 5-10 minutes before digging in!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/06/new-friends.html

Make sure to check out Heather’s blog for all her delicious recipes – as well as pictures of her adorable baby.



Let it Burn

Cannelloni al Forno

Cannelloni al Forno

Nothing like an Italian challenge to get back in the swing of things!  It’s been a bit of a challenge getting everything back in order, as I’m used to having at least a week’s worth of recipes ready at any time.  While I had prepared a number of posts for while I was on my trip I didn’t take in to account the adjustment time once I returned.  So with that in mind I have been going on a cooking/baking rampage in order to insure no more gaps in posts.  Thankfully I had a few blog challenges waiting for me when I got back, including the Italian challenge from r/52weeksofcooking.  I knew rather early on that I wanted to do a stuffed pasta, and that I wanted to focus on seasonal greens for the stuffing.  I decided to go with canneloni and two varieties of chard along with some young spinach.

Canneloni al Forno

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

  • 16 canneloni (fresh or dried)
  • 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 basil leaved, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup red swiss chard (or rainbow chard)
  • 1/2 cup fordhook swiss chard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bechamel sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

Instructions

  1. Preaheat oven to 375. Depending on type of noodle being used, precook and allow to cool before stuffing.
  2. While noodles are cooling mix together the ricotta, basil, onion, garlic, and greens in a large bowl. Add the egg and continue mixing.
  3. Stuff the canneloni with the cheese mixture, about 3 tbsp in each noodle and place in a single layer on the bottom of a 10x11 or other casserole dish. Top with the two sauces then cover in foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and then bake for a final 10 minutes, edges of the dish should start to brown and the sauce should be bubbling.
  4. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes then serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/05/letitburn.html

As an added bonus a friend joined us for dinner, supplying an amazing salad that went perfectly with the pasta and some sourdough bread.  Nothing like sharing a great meal with friends!

Gotta Get Out

Stuffed Shells Casserole

Stuffed Shell Casserole

I’ll admit it, sometimes I don’t want to cook or at least don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.  For example I’m a huge fan of stuffed shells but they take much longer than I’m willing to spend on the average work night.  So I decided to cut a few corners and make a stuffed shell casserole with all of the flavor and half the prep time.  To further speed up the process I used some frozen pomodoro sauce, leftover form a large batch I made in my slowcooker.  I swear one of the best things about my slow cooker is the ability to prepare huge batches of sauce (and other yummies!) and saving them for the future.  I simply placed the frozen sauce in the fridge before I left for work and then zapped it a bit to finish the process, adding a few more leaves of basil to make sure it had the right taste.

Stuffed Shell Casserole

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach, well washed and torn
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 lb precooked small shells
  • 2 cups favorite pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. While oven preheats heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the spices and toss in the oil for 30 seconds before adding the onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook until soft then remove from heat and pour in to a large bowl.
  3. Add the spinach and ricotta cheese to the bowl and mix well.
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Add half of the pasta, then top with a third of the mushroom and ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup of sauce and then repeat the layering finishing with the cheese mixture before topping with the remaining sauce. Finish with the shredded cheeses and then bake, covered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the cover and then bake for a final 10-15 minutes, until cheese on top is brown and bubbling. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2013/04/gotta-get-out.html

The photo might not be the best, but it’s delicious and quick and easy – which is all that matters after a long day at work.  I served this up with some oregano bread but would be just fine on it’s own.