Remember when I thought that the fall SRC post was my last one? Well, I had completely forgotten that I still had one more regular Secret Recipe Club post. Oops! Luckily I did remember in time and was able to look through my assigned blog - Making Miracles.
Rebekah is a mother of two who traveled extensively as a child, including living in Africa - wow! Most of her meals are "quick, easy, and family friendly", but sometimes she has time for something more complicated. She has also been a surrogate for many years resulting in 4 baby girls, 2 of whom are twins! What an amazing gift! I can't imagine how challenging and rewarding that must be.
On Rebekah's blog I saw lots of casseroles, and you KNOW I love casseroles. I was particularly interested in this Crockpot Turkey and Rice Casserole, this Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole, this Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole, this Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole with Doritos, and this Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole.
I let my husband look through all of my top choices (so generous of me *wink*). He picked out these classic Stuffed Shells, and I was happy to oblige! But then I ran into a problem - the store didn't have any jumbo pasta shells! I thought I remembered having a box at home, so I bought the rest of the stuff and went back to check. It turns out that what I had was actually large shells, not jumbo. I was out of time and had already bought the other ingredients, so I decided to improvise.
I have been saving Tasty (Buzzfeed Food) videos on Facebook like crazy. They always look so good! So this week, I declared that I must make one thing from a saved link; and I chose these decadent Chicken Bacon Alfredo Lasagna Roll-ups.
Start by cooking lasagna noodles and filling them with a mixture of cooked chicken, bacon, and Alfredo sauce (made with butter, garlic, cream, cream cheese, and Parmesan). I made some changes to the original, using 12 noodles instead of 8 and more filling per noodle to use up all the filling. I didn't like how, in the video, there was chicken and bacon on the top instead of all contained.
I love homemade pizza, you know this. And I really love burrata on homemade pizza - it is so creamy and gooey and just heavenly. It's great with tomatoes in the summer, but when paired with caramelized onions it becomes this luscious and sophisticated fall combination.
The onions are caramelized slowly with butter (this takes time and patience), and finished with balsamic vinegar. They are piled on pizza dough and topped with torn burrata, no sauce needed.
Then it is baked and topped with fresh basil. Oh. My. Gosh. It is just so good - rich and creamy and perfect.
My thanks to Melissa from Smells Like Brownies, for suggesting that we make this and for teaching me to stop rolling my pizza dough out so dang thin!
I give full credit to Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) for this idea. I'd heard of cauliflower pizza crust before and thought I should try it, but I never got around to it. So I was really glad when she brought it up and suggested we try it.
It turns out that cauliflower crust is really easy! It doesn't taste or feel like traditional crust, but it is yummy and chewy - I liked it! I was surprised that I could actually pick up a slice and it held together. So whether you are gluten-free, looking for low-carb, or just like to try new things, I highly recommend this pizza crust!
The first step is to pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until very fine. Then place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave to steam. Carefully remove the plastic wrap and transfer to a cheesecloth lined colander to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, twist the cloth and squeeze to release as much moisture as possible. Like really squeeze this thing to death, I'm not joking. You may need to take turns with a cooking buddy like we did.
When you've removed as much moisture as you can, add mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, garlic powder, red pepper, salt, and an egg. Use your hands to combine into a dough.
Melissa and I have been going through our recipes to see what areas we are lacking in, and sandwiches are definitely one of them. She has been growing tomatoes and basil in her yard, which just beg to become caprese. But instead of just making a salad, we tried to figure out how to turn it into a sandwich. Melted cheese is clearly superior to un-melted cheese, so of course we made a panini!
We spread slices of Italian bread with basil mayonnaise, then layered in fresh mozzarella and balsamic marinated tomato slices (our attempt to get balsamic flavor without adding too much liquid) with fresh basil (you can't have enough basil). Then we placed them on a panini grill and cooked until the cheese was melted and the outside was golden.
The sandwiches were so gooey and yummy - I loved it! But the bottoms did get a little soggy, so next time I will toast the bread on one side before spreading the mayo on the toasted side, then putting the sandwich together and grilling as usual. I think that this will help keep it from getting soggy. I also might put basil mayo on the outside of the sandwich to help brown it up and because it is delicious.
Fast, easy, simple, and perfect for summer - this pizza is creamy and fresh and super yummy.
All pizza starts with dough, and I highly recommend the Jim Lahey no-knead recipe. It comes out tender and crisp and full of air pockets. You can see some bubbles in the dough in the photo above - that's the good stuff! I do need to try and remember not to stretch it out too much, though. I think I made the pizza a little too large this time.
Top the dough with minced garlic, bits of anchovy, and a drizzle of olive oil. The anchovy adds little pops of salty and umami flavors. Along with the garlic, this richness is what elevates this pizza from being boring, do not skip! Melissa (who I made this with), said that she might make it with capers instead of anchovies next time. I think that is a really good suggestion for vegetarians who don't eat fish, but still want to get that briney flavor.
I know it's way too hot out to be making this sort of thing, but I don't care. It is sooooooo good. This is a French onion soup inspired macaroni and cheese with caramelized onions, boatloads of cheese, and a buttery breadcrumb topping with thyme. Yum, yum, yum. Oh yeah, and a little bit of white wine (shoutout to Broken Dreams - my fave white of the moment). I made this with Melissa of Smells Like Brownies and it was one of those magical recipes that is so much fun to make and doesn't stress you out during the process (though that may have been the wine taking effect...).
Step one is to get the onions going, of course. Can't have French onion soup without onions! Pop those bad boys into a heavy bottomed pan with olive oil, butter, and thyme. Is there any better flavor combo than onions and thyme? I like to start them at medium high heat, then reduce heat to medium low once they are translucent.
After 15 minutes, they should look kind of like this. Add a splash of white wine and a sprinkle of salt and keep cooking for another 15-20 minutes. Remember to take out the thyme stems when they are done.
What if I told you that you could make delicious, fresh mozzarella in 30 minutes at home. No, I'm not kidding and yes, it is awesome. You already know how much I love homemade ricotta; now I have another cheese to add to my repertoire!
My friend Melissa and I have been talking about doing this for a while, and I am so glad that we went for it! All you need is a gallon of whole milk, rennet, citric acid, salt, a cheese thermometer (shows lower temp range than a candy thermometer), and cheese cloth. Everything except the milk is available in an awesome kit from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company ($25 and makes 30 batches!). You can also just buy those things individually. The kit comes with a very handy instruction and recipe booklet, but the instructions are also available on the website.
On the subject of milk - butterfat is necessary to make cheese, so please use whole milk. Also, ultra-pasteurized will NOT work (pasteurized is fine). There are instructions on the website for pasteurizing raw milk, if you want to go super fresh. The main ingredient and flavoring comes from the milk, so use the highest quality you can find. I recommend milk from local, grass-fed cows for the best quality (more info on Melissa's post).
We have made mozzarella twice. The first time we were still getting the hang of it and overstretched the mozzarella. It was still yummy, but more like the texture of string cheese. So the second time we handled it much less and it came out beautifully (we used it to make delicious margherita pizza). So don't freak out if it doesn't turn out exactly the way you want it the first time. You may need to do it a few times to get the feel of it. And make sure that you have read through all the instructions a few times first. It's not difficult, but it is a lot of steps.
Chicken Parmesan without the guilt? I saw a really yummy looking recipe for Chicken Parmesan Meatballs that I wanted to try, but didn't want to eat all the carbs involved in pasta. I had also been seeing cheesy spaghetti squash casseroles that looked really good, so I had the idea to combine them.
Ground chicken, onion, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, garlic, and egg are combined to make the meatballs, which are basted with tomato sauce and cooked in the oven.
Spaghetti squash goes into a casserole dish (I cook mine in the microwave). This is from two medium squashes.
Place the cooked meatballs on top, then the tomato sauce. I forgot to season the squash, oops! So I added more salt and pepper here.