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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Plum Crostata











 Crostata


    There is something about fresh fruit that just makes you want to bake something sweet. I found these delicious black plums at my local grocery store. I thought; why not make a great pie sort of dessert. This crostata was full of flavor and just had just the right amount of sweetness. I did find, however, that I needed to add just a bit more sugar. Once the plums were cooked, they became a bit bitter. So I would recommend adding just a little over a cup of brown sugar to cut the bitterness. Plum Crostata.

 

 

 
Ingredients:
  • 4 black plums
  • Zest from 1/2 orange
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 pie crust
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • Sugar

 
1. Slice the plums into equal slivers. Place into a bowl.

 
2. Zest half a large orange into the bowl.

 
3. Toss with the brown sugar, lemon juice, and pinch of salt. Let sit about 10 minutes.

 
4. Meanwhile roll out the pie crust. (I just bought a frozen store one).

 
5. Fan out the slices of plums as picture below.  Fold up the edges of the pie crust as picture.

 
6. Whip the egg with some water and brush over the outer edge of the pie crust and sprinkle with some sugar.

 
7. Bake in oven on a tinfoil covered sheet at 350 degrees for roughly 20-25 minutes or until pie crust has browned.

 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25
Serves: 4

 





 

 


 

 






Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summertime Napoleon

Napoleon
Summertime Napoleon

 

 






This is the perfect Summertime meal. Perfect for even vegetarians, (minus the meat). I made a fresh batch of homemade pesto sauce for sale and had some leftover. I was craving something other than pasta so came up with this great idea to grill some of the local produce I had come across and make a stack sort of veggie dish perfect for those hot summer evenings. I had just ran out to the store and picked up some great sliced prosciutto to add that little something extra to this dish. It was great. Quick, simple, and full of flavor. I felt healthier just eating it. Summertime Napoleon.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 large zucchini
  • I large tomato
  • Sliced Prosciutto
  • Sliced fresh mozzarella
  • Pesto
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/pepper

 

1. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Drizzle and rub some olive oil over the sliced eggplant and zucchini.

 

2. Over a hot grill pan, or grill itself, grill the eggplant and zucchini in batches until grill marks appear on each side and the meat is tender.


 
3. Now for the easy part. Layer a slice of eggplant, then prosciutto, mozzarella, zucchini, then tomato. Continue until you have a nicely layered stack or fanned out veggie plate. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle some pesto and viola!

 
This dish with very little meat in it will easily become one of your favorite meals of the summer. So full of flavor and just that perfect fill up when you don't feel like really cooking.

 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3+




Thursday, August 4, 2016

Lasagne

Lasagna
Lasagne



     Who doesn't like a good lasagne? Yes I am spelling it with an "e" versus an "a" as the "a" would stand for only a single noodle versus the pile. Well it is one of those comforting dishes that everyone loves to dive into. What could be better? Fresh noodles, sauce, meat, cheese oozing everywhere; the perfect meal that can even be frozen and cooked at a later date. This lasagne recipe is just a simple one. Quick and easy. (Well with the exception of using homemade noodles), however you can use the store bought ones too. I would recommend using fresh ones. There is just nothing better than fresh homemade pasta to go with your meal. Enjoy! Lasagne.
 




Ingredients:



  • Fresh noodles
  • Marinara
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 16 oz ricotta
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh parsley
  • 1 egg
  • Mozzarella
  • Parmesan
  • Salt/ pepper
 



1. Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium high heat. Salt and pepper to taste.


2. Pour in some of the marinara to incorporate into the beef.


3. Meanwhile combine some chopped basil, oregano, and parsley into the ricotta cheese.


4. Mix in an egg to combine. Salt/pepper to taste.


5. Now for the fun part. If you are using fresh noodles you will need to make them and pre-cook them just a bit.


6. In a 9x9 inch pan, ladle a little bit of the marinara on the bottom.


7. Lay down layers of the noodles and top with some of the cheese mixture.


8. Next layer some of the beef mixture. Sprinkle with some mozzarella.


9. Continue this process until you reach the top of the pan and layer the last of the noodles on top.


10. Ladle some marinara sauce on top. Top with some more mozzarella and some graded parmesan
cheese.


11. Cover with tinfoil and bake in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.


12. Remove tinfoil and let the cheese brown for another 10 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
 



Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40-45
Serves: 5+



 
Such a delicious traditional comfort food anyone can make.



 
P.S. As you can see from the picture above, I had roughly three layers going on with some additional noodles at the top. Still delicious.





Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chicken and Waffles with a Basil Infused Cantaloupe Syrup



Chicken-Waffles
Chicken and Waffles with Basil Infused Cantaloupe Syrup
 
 
 
 
     I have made a chicken and waffle recipe before, However this time I wanted something a bit different; something that could be refreshing and more summertime worthy utilizing some fresh produce. I decided to come up with this delicious crisp syrup that would be cooling and add that little something to the fried chicken and hearty waffles. So here goes; Chicken and Waffles with a Basil Infused Cantaloupe Syrup.
 
 

Ingredients:
 

  • 6 chicken breast strips
  • Waffle mix
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup chopped cantaloupe
  • 5 basil leaves
  • 1 shot of limoncello
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • Cornflake crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt/Pepper
 

1. I set up a 3 plate station for the chicken breading. One for egg, one for flour, and another for cornflake crumbs.




2. Dredge chicken in flour, followed by dipping in egg, then dredging in cornflake crumbs.




3. Fry chicken in a large skillet with enough vegetable oil till golden brown on both sides.




4. Remove chicken and place on baking sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until
done.




5. Meanwhile fry the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Chop up and combine in with waffle mix. (I just used store bought just add water mixture).




6. Make waffles using a simple waffle iron.





7. Now in a saute pot, pour in the limoncello. Over medium high heat bring limoncello to a boil. Toss in chopped basil and let the leaves infuse into the liquid.




8. Pour in the syrup and whisk to combine.




9. Take cantaloupe and puree in a food processor. Pour into pot and combine.




10. Now for the fun part. Place waffle on plate. Top with fried chicken, and then drizzle some of the cantaloupe syrup over the chicken. Add some fresh cantaloupe pieces and viola!
 
 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
 
 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lemon Herb Ricotta Bruschetta with Salted Tomatoes

Ricotta-Bruschetta
Lemon Herb Ricotta Bruschetta

      Who isn't a fan of a great bruschetta? I mean what couldn't you like about it. Grilled bread topped with fresh ingredients, the perfect bite size appetizer to any meal.  This one is a winner in my book. I made it for our family reunion and within minutes the platter was empty. Light, refreshing, and a little on the healthy side, perfect for a summertime cookout. Lemon Herb Ricotta Bruschetta with Salted Tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • French loaf
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Ricotta
  • 1 lemon
  • Small handful of fresh oregano
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil

1. Slice the French loaf into little crostini size bites. Arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle with some olive oil. Bake in 350 oven till brown and crisp for about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile take a small handful of oregano and chop up. Zest 1 lemon and combine with the oregano. Mix into a bowl of the ricotta.

3. Juice the lemon into the ricotta mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Slice the little cherry tomatoes and toss with some fresh sea salt.

5. Remove bread from oven and spread an even mixture of the ricotta on each one.

6. Top with sliced tomatoes. Place back in oven for about 5 minutes just until cheese starts to warm.

7. Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar and serve.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Serves: 10+

      Just another great bruschetta recipe that everyone will love.





Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Blackened Salmon With a Cucumber Dill Cream

Balckened-Salmon
Blackened Salmon Cucumber Dill Cream

      This was one of those perfect dinner meals that anyone can make. Perfect for the bachelor, perfect for that romantic dinner for two, or perfect for anyone wanting a healthy and delicious meal. I chose to use a simple store bought blackening seasoning, however you can make a quick one yourself by combining the typical ingredients that are usually in a blackening seasoning. I have found a really good one at my local store that I love to use. Combine with the cooling of the cucumber dill cream sauce and you have the perfect balance of hot and cold in this dish. Blackened Salmon with Cucumber Dill Cream.

Ingredients:

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • Blackening Seasoning
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 1 tbs dill
  • 1 tbs lemon juice

1. Generously rub the blackening seasoning on both sides of the salmon fillets.

2. Grill skin side down first over a hot grill for about 3 minutes until the marks are present and the salmon gently lifts off the grill. Flip and grill other side.

3. Place salmon in oven safe dish and bake for roughly 5-10 minutes at 350 degree or just until medium or to your preference.

4. Meanwhile slice up cucumber into small chunks. Cook in a saute pan with dill, cream and lemon juice just until tender. Serve over cooked salmon.

This salmon dish is truly one of my best inventions I have had. Give it a try.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15
Serves: 2






Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Broccoli Bacon Salad

Broccoli-Bacon-Salad
Broccoli Bacon Salad
 
 
    This is one of those perfect summer time picnic side dishes. I first encountered it at a friends family's house. I fell in love. Delicious, chilled, just the right amount of sweetness, and with bacon; well bacon makes everything better. Broccoli Bacon Salad.
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 2 lg broccoli heads
  • 12 strips bacon
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup mayo
 
1. Cook bacon until done. Chop up into chunks.
 
2.  Cut up the broccoli heads into bite size pieces.
 
3. Dice the onion.
 
4. In a large bowl combine broccoli, bacon, onion, and cheddar.
 
5. In a separate bowl combine mayo, vinegar, and sugar.
 
6. Pour mayo mixture over the broccoli mixture and stir to incorporate. Cover and set in fridge till
ready to serve. (Best overnight)
 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: Just bacon
Serves: 5+
 


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Greens and Beans

Greens-Beans


     Here is another great side dish that can go with any dinner entrĂ©e. This dish is extremely healthy for you and packed  with good proteins and vitamins. It is a dish that brings back many memories for me. My grandmother used to make it all the time. You can choose your choice of greens but I highly recommend escarole. Greens and Beans.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of escarole
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Swig of olive oil
  • Salt/pepper

1. Chop up and wash the escarole. Pat dry with paper towel.

2. Drain and rinse the can of cannellini beans.

3. In a medium saute skillet drizzle some olive oil.

4. Saute the chopped escarole until wilted.

5. Add in chopped garlic and the cannellini beans. Bring to a simmer.

6. Cover and saute until beans are tender and ready to serve.

Simple, quick, easy, and delicious. Give it a try!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky-Toffee-Pudding
Sticky Toffee Pudding


     What is Sticky Toffee Pudding? Well it is a classic British dessert perfect for your afternoon tea or dinner party with friends. I first discovered this dessert as a child when the neighbor kids mother used to make it all the time. I completely forgot about this cake until I went searching for what exactly it was. This delicious dessert has been enjoyed by people for ages. Give it a try! Trust me you will love it. Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dates chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Sauce:

  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine the chopped dates, water, and baking soda in a saucepan and cook over high heat until boiling. Remove and set aside.

3. Combine flour and salt in one bowl and whisk together.

4. Combine butter and brown sugar in another bowl and beat with a mixer until the mixture is smooth.

5. Add in vanilla and eggs one at a time and mix well.

6. Stir in the date mixture and then the flour until well incorporated.

7. In another saucepan bring some water to a boil.

8. Pour the cake mixture into the coated pan. Sit the pan in another larger baking pan and pour the boiling water around to create a water bath. (Be careful).

9. Place in oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the center is cooked through.

10. Meanwhile in another saucepan on the stove over medium high heat melt the butter, brown sugar,
and vanilla just until the mixture starts to simmer and bubble.

11. Slowly add in the cream and stir until the mixture becomes thick and doubles in volume.

12. Slice cake into individual pieces and pour the toffee sauce over. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

This dessert will definitely become a favorite.

Prep Time: 5 minutes.
Cook Time: 60+
Serves: 5+


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pasta Alla Norma

Pasta-Alla-Norma
 

 
 
     Situated on the east coast of this beautiful island along the blue waters of the Ionian sea sits a city that has a rocky past; Catania. Glooming high above behind the city sits the great Mount Etna that has destroyed this lovely dwelling many times with its explosive volcanic eruptions. Like the High Priestess of the Druids, Norma, protecting her two offspring from death as a sacrifice to the Gods to rid the city of the Romans, the depth and love of this city is exemplified in the destruction of its streets by Etna as well as the song and performance of the "bel canto" in the opera about the priestess Norma. This traditional Sicilian pasta dish named in honor of her is a perfect example of said depth and love of this culture. Pasta Alla Norma. A delicious grilled eggplant in tomato sauce pasta. Top with some basil and fresh shaved ricotta.
 
     As the little story above states, Pasta Alla Norma is a true Sicilian dish apparently  created in honor of the Opera Norma. I discovered this dish by watching the show Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel. I had never heard of it before and thought it looked amazing. This dish was fantastic. Quick, simple, and full of flavor. Pasta Alla Norma.
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • Handful fresh basil
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 white onion
  • Ricotta
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/pepper
 
1. Sliced eggplant into about 1/2 inch thick cuts.
 
2. On a grill or grill pan over high heat grill the eggplant slices until no longer green and grill marks show.
 
3. Salt and pepper to taste. Lay aside till ready to place into sauce.
 
4. Meanwhile in a large skillet drizzle some olive oil and saute diced onion until translucent.
 
5. Toss in diced garlic and saute until fragrant.
 
6. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, chopped up fresh basil, and chili flakes.
 
7. Chop up the eggplant slices into bite size chunks. Place into skillet. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve over small rigatoni pasta with some fresh basil and ricotta shavings.
 
     This was such a fresh and delicious meal that I am glad I discovered this Sicilian meal.
 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4+