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Ricotta Meatloaf and Peas with Pancetta

This recipe is a long time coming, but has not been forgotten.  I made this earlier in the spring and with all of our family activity it hadn’t been posted.  Lydia is a new favorite of ours. I will definitely try this again and make the peas more often.

Ingredients 

1 cup milk
3 cups day old bread cubes, from a loaf of country bread
3 pounds ground beef (freshly ground preferred)
3 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
1 pound drained fresh ricotta (about 2 cups) plus more for the sauce if you like
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 to 5 cups tomato sauce

Pour the milk over the bread cubes in a bowl, and let soak for a few minutes, until the bread is saturated. Squeeze the soft bread a handful at a time, pressing out as much milk as you can (discard the milk). Tear the bread into small shreds and toss back into the empty bowl. Crumble the ground beef into the bowl, and add the eggs, ricotta, scallions, grated cheese, parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Fold and toss everything together, and squeeze the mixture a few times between your fingers to distribute all the ingredients evenly. Scatter the mozzarella cubes on top, and fold and mush them throughout the loaf mix.

Brush the roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Gather the meat mixture in the bowl, turn it into the pan, and shape it into a fat oval loaf. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover the pan with foil—tent it so it doesn’t touch the meat—and bake 45 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake until the meatloaf is browned all over and completely cooked through, another 1 hour and 30 minutes or so. (If you check the loaf with a meat thermometer, it should reach a temperature of 160 degrees.) Remove the roast from the oven, and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Heat the tomato sauce to a simmer in a saucepan as the meat rests. Turn off the heat, and, if you like, stir 1/2 cup or so fresh ricotta into the sauce. Cut the loaf crosswise in the pan or on a cutting board, in slices as thick as you like.

Serve on warm dinner plates, topped with a spoonful or two of sauce, and pass more sauce at the table (or, for family-style serving, arrange the slices on a warm platter, topped with some of the sauce).

Peas and Pancetta 
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces Pancetta, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 (1 pound) bag frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup Pine Nuts, toasted
Directions
 In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, pancetta and onion. Cook until pancetta is rendered, about 5 to 7 minutes.

 Add the peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and peas are tender and flavored with the pancetta. Stir in pine nuts. Cook and toss for a minute, then serve.

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Zucchini Time

Zucchini Saute

It is that time of year when gardens are plentiful with summer vegetables.  One of my favorite summer veggies is Zucchini. This is a quick dish that the flavors will change with the herb choice.  I used tarragon this time.  Tarragon does have a unique flavor. You can omit the scallions or shallots if you choose or use summer squash as well.   
1 pound (about 3 medium size) zucchini and or yellow squash
1 shallot or 2 scallions
2 tablespons fresh herbs leaves such as tarragon, parsley or dill or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon or dillweed
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
Scrub squash and trim ends.  Shred using a shredding disk in food processor.  Mince the shallot or trim and thinly slice the scallions.  Finely chop the herb.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add shallot(if using scallions, they will be added later) and stir over medium-low heat – 1 minute until soft.  

Increase heat to high.  Add zucchini and cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring and turning constantly.
Stir in herbs and scallions.  Cook and stir 15 to 30 seconds longer until any liquid reserved from the squash has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper. 

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Garlic Herb Potato Salad

I am sure that it is no surprise to people who know me that I have always been a picky eater.  No, I don’t like sandwiches, condiments, etc.  Lunch to me is a hot lunch or now a good yogurt and granola bar to hold me over.  It took me a while to warm up to summer salads because I really am not a mayo fan.  So when I saw this recipe that has no mayo I gave it a try and loved it.  It is very easy to make and taste great warm and cold too.  Give this a try!

Ingredients

3 lbs small red potatoes , scrubbed and rinsed and diced into small even size chunks (about 1-inch)
1 1/2 Tbsp salt , divided
1/2 cup olive oil (I prefer 1/4 cup extra-virgin 1/4 cup regular)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic , minced (1 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (from about 1/2 cup cup packed leaves with some stem)
2 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives*
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

Instructions

Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover potatoes with water (water level should come about an inch or two above potatoes), season with 1 Tbsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are just tender all the way through, about 10 – 15 minutes (they should pierce easily with a knife, but you also don’t want them really tender/mushy). Drain potatoes and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes (cooling is recommend so they don’t fall apart while tossing. If you want to serve them hot then plate individual servings of potatoes and spoon dressing over each serving rather then tossing everything together).

While potatoes are cooking prepare the dressing – in a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, pepper, parsley, chives and thyme. Season with remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste. Let mixture rest while potatoes continue to cook and cool slightly, then once potatoes are ready, pour drained potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Pour dressing over top and gently toss just a few times to coat. Serve warm or chilled.

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Chickpea Salad

Looking for a different kind of salad?  Not macaroni or potato?  Try this one my hubby whipped up that was super easy to make.  It is a crisp and cool treat.  Not your traditional summer salad by any means.  Hey, what are you waiting for?  The weekend is coming and you know you are going to cook out again?

Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

2 (19-ounce) cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 carrot, grated
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.

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Fingerling Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

I just started to get Cooking Light again and found this great recipe. Very easy to make but best at room temperature, even with the heat wave we have now. 

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 pounds multicolored fingerling potatoes, halved
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Directions

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan. Cover with water by 3 inches; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain well. Add hot potatoes to dressing; toss gently to coat. Add onion and chives; toss.

From Cooking Light

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2 New Salads to Try

 



 
This past weekend we had “Our” pool party at “Giada from across the street and her hubby Michael” house.  We invited all of the usual suspects and a few additions and planned on warm weather and swimming the afternoon away.  Well Mother Nature didn’t want to cooperate with the warm weather, but the kids didn’t mind.  So the afternoon and evening was spent eating  and watching the guys play Corn Hole.  

Our host said they would provide the main entrée and we would all bring dishes to pass.  I promised the famous Paula Deen Ooey Gooey’s, Asian Cole Slaw, Beer, our Daughters Brownie Creation and Hubby’s contribution  of 2 new salads.  He had seen Ina Garten make her Celery Salad and new that our foodie friends would love that one and then  night before the party we found the cucumber salad on Facebook that looked pretty easy and would be a refreshing change from typical Picnic Salads.

It seems that summer is rapidly coming to a close, but these salads will stay around through the fall and into the winter as a reminder of the 2015 Pool Party!

Sour Cream Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

1/2 cup sour cream

  3 tablespoons white vinegar

  1 tablespoon sugar

  Pepper to taste

  4 medium cucumbers, peeled if desired and thinly sliced

  1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

In a large bowl, whisk sour cream, vinegar, sugar and pepper until blended. Add cucumbers and onion; toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 8 servings.

Celery Parmesan Salad

 

Ingredients

½ cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon anchovy paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups thinly sliced celery hearts, tender leaves included, sliced on an angle (about 12 stalks)
4-ounce chunk aged Parmesan cheese
²/³ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
At least 1 hour before you plan to serve the salad, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, ¼ cup of lemon juice, the shallots, celery seed, celery salt, anchovy paste, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Place the celery in a mixing bowl and toss it with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt. (Even though these ingredients are in the dressing, believe me—this step makes a difference.) Add enough dressing to moisten well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the celery to crisp and the flavors to develop.

When ready to serve, arrange the celery on a platter, shave the Parmesan onto the celery with a vegetable peeler, then sprinkle with walnuts, parsley leaves, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.

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New Recipes for dinner!

One new recipe and one from the old recipe file.  This is a little late because it was one of our Lenten favorites from years past along with a new side dish picked up from a Pinterest pin.  These two combined for a great meal.  Even  though there was only 3 of us at dinner, we made the full recipe of scallopsthat is shown as 6 dishes.  I might try to make this is one large dish next time and let everyone select how much they would like.  The scallops are low in calories, so a family sized portion would work out fine.   
The potato recipe has been shared already with my mother in law to take for a pot luck. It is a great side dish casserole for family dinners and gatherings.  Is there a graduation party or shower in your future that you need a side dish?  This one is worth a try.

Cheesy Potato Casserole

 
 
2 lbs hash brown cubes (country style)
3 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cube butter (1/2 cup or stick)
1 can cr. chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
½ c. milk
2 cups crushed corn flakes
 
 

Instructions

Mix hash browns, cheese, salt, and pepper and pour into a 9×13 pan. Mix butter, soup, sour cream, and milk – pour over hash brown mixture. Top with corn flakes and a little melted butter. Bake 1 hour at 350.
Scallops Au Vin
1 1/2 lbs fresh scallops
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dry white wine
 2 tbsp butter
If scallops are large, cut in half; divide evenly into 6 (10 oz.) custard cups.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Divide mushrooms over scallops. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp parsley and 1 tbsp wine over mushrooms in each dish.  Dot each with 1 tsp butter.
Bake uncovered at 450 degrees fo 12 to 15 minutes until done.