Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mango, Shrimp, and Avocado Wonton Cups

Here it is, my favorite appetizer EVER! This appetizer is so easy to make I hardly call it cooking. The wonton cups are so beautiful and delicious they are always the hit of every cocktail party I throw. Simply bake wonton wrappers brushed with oil in a mini-cupcake pan, then fill them with chopped fresh mango, avocado, shrimp, cilantro and a touch of onion and lime. Served as an appetizer or salad course, this recipe is sure to be a hit at your next party!

Mango, Shrimp, and Avocado Wonton Cups
Fresh, lively and crunch, a guaranteed hit for your next party!
Makes 20 wonton cups
20 wonton wrappers                                                                        
1 mango, cut into half inch cubes
1 avocado, cut into half inch cubes 
1/2 lb shrimp, cooked and chopped                                                               
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of half a lime
salt & pepper
For the wonton cups: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a mini muffin tin. Brush each wonton wrapper with oil and press into the mini muffin tin. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Remove wonton cups from muffin tin and allow to cool completely.

For the salsa: Gently mix the mango, avocado, shrimp, red onion, cilantro, olive oil and lime juice in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill each wonton cup with salsa. The salsa can also be enjoyed on its own or over salad greens.

Recipe adapted from Ginger Bear Kitchen by Sarah Lang

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon

Pumpkin macaroni and cheese is a beautiful autumn meal that will warm you up on a chilly night. It is delicious as a side dish with roast chicken, or as an entree with a simple salad on the side. This comforting meal would even be a hit on your Thanksgiving table. Cuddle up and enjoy!

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon
A hearty and delicious Fall meal
Serves 6

1 lb. short cut pasta, such as rotini
8 slices bacon, sliced
1 cup diced onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
1 to 15 oz. jar prepared Alfredo Sauce
3/4 cup milk
1/2 pound grated fontina cheese
1/3 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring large pot of water to boil. Salt the water and cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside. Place hot pot back on heat and cook bacon until browned and crispy {or cook how you like it}. Remove bacon from pot and drain onto paper towels. In the bacon grease, sauté onions and garlic until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, spices and alfredo sauce. Pour milk into dirty alfredo sauce jar, replace lid, shake and pour into pot. Stir until combined. Sprinkle in cheeses and stir slowly to melt. Stir in cooked pasta and half the cooked bacon. Spoon into dishes and top with remaining bacon and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned on top.

Recipe by Sarah Lang

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Creamy Cajun Pasta with Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage

One of my favorite meals of all time is a big bowl of pasta, and Creamy Cajun Pasta with Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage is a true winner. The creamy tomato sauce is made with white wine and cream, and is spiked with Cajun seasoning. It perfectly coats the pasta, while the seasoned chicken, sausage and shrimp burst with flavor and make this dish husband-friendly. After all, it may be a bowl of pasta, but it has three meats! Serve with garlic bread and green salad for a delicious meal the whole family will love.

Creamy Cajun Pasta with Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage
Serves 4
A flavorful pasta dish with a creamy sauce and three meats

1/2 pound tube pasta (such as gemelli, campanelli, penne or rigatoni)
1 sausage link, sliced
1 chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
1 onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
3/4 cup marina sauce or diced tomatoes
Cajun seasoning
Olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
Fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese

Boil a large pot of water, add salt, and cook pasta until al dente. While cooking remove 3/4 cup cooking liquid and reserve. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, sprinkle shimp and chicken with Cajun seasoning. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large cast-iron pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp for 1 minute on each side until pink. Remove shrimp from skillet and set aside. Add another teaspoon of oil to skillet and add chicken. Saute until just cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. 

Add more oil to the skillet along with the sausage, onion and bell peppers. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Cook until veggies are softened and sausage is caramelized, 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine and allow to reduce by half, about 3 minutes. Add cream and marinara sauce and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Add reserved pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce.

Add pasta and chicken to skillet. Stir until coated and fully heated through. Add shrimp, chopped parsley, and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve in large bowls with a sprinkle of cheese and black pepper.


Recipe by Sarah Lang

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Padre's Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of my favorite comfort foods. Padre’s Goat Cheese Enchiladas are a special recipe from a very good friend and chef, and they are my favorite enchiladas of all time. One of the reasons these enchiladas are so delicious is that the sauce is made from ancho chili peppers and roasted tomatoes with plenty of garlic, which takes the flavor to a new level. The tortillas are smothered in the sauce and filled with goat cheese, onions, and black olives. Feel free to add shredded chicken for even more flavor. Ole!

Padre's Goat Cheese EnchiladasHomemade enchilada sauce coats delicately stuffed corn tortillas filled with tangy goat cheese, olives and spices.
Serves 4

Olive oil
6 dried ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded
1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
3 plum tomato, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups water
Pinch black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
11 ounces soft chevre-style goat cheese
1 white onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup sliced black olive s
8 corn tortillas
2 green onions, both white and green parts, chopped, for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375°. Oil or spray a 13 x 9" casserole dish. Put the chiles, fire-roasted tomatoes, plum tomatoes, garlic, water, pepper, cumin, oregano, and salt in a 2 qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Puree the sauce in a food mill to remove skins and seeds.Return mixture to the saucepan.

Crumble enough goat cheese to make 1 cup, reserving the rest of the cheese. Place in a small bowl and add the onion and olives.

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the prepared casserole.

Dip each tortilla in the sauce to coat both sides. Spoon some of the goat cheese filling on the lower third of a tortilla, roll up and place in the dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas, lining the folded enchiladas up side by sidein the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas, and crumble the remaining goat cheese on top.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are heated through. Garnish with the green onions and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Beth Wright, adapted by Sarah Lang

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

I love to make pizza, and am a firm believer that you can eat as much “junk food” as you want if you make it yourself! Knowing the ingredients and preparation method of the food I eat allows me to indulge, and pizza is my all time favorite indulgence. As much as I enjoy thin crust, Italian style pizzas, I am forever a deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza lover. This pizza really puts the “pie” in pizza pie. I love how you slice it into big, thick wedges that are oozing with cheese on top of a sturdy, buttery crust. Layered with Italian sausage, peppers and onions, and topped with a chunky, garlicky tomato sauce, it does not get much better than this! Have fun with the filling and flavors, pizza is a ready canvas for delicious experimentation. Enjoy!

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
Hearty sausage, thick tomato sauce, and a buttery crust make this the perfect deep dish pizza.

Serves 8
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 T yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. salt
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (one envelope)
2 T. olive oil
2 T. vegetable or canola oil
2 T butter, melted
1 cup + 2 T lukewarm water

¾ lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
¾ lb. Italian sweet or hot sausage, cooked and sliced
1 medium onion, diced and sautéed in olive oil to soften, along with…
1 green bell pepper, diced and sautéed in olive oil to soften
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 T extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T dried Italian seasoning
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper

To make the crust: Add dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor of stand-up mixer. Pulse to combine. Add wet ingredients and combine on medium speed, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, for about 7 minutes. Lightly flour a board and knead dough a few times, until you form a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise undisturbed for 90 minutes.

Ready your 12” or 14" deep-dish pizza pan or cast-iron skillet by pouring in 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, tilting it to cover the bottom of the pan, and partway up the sides.

Stretch the dough to make as large a circle as you can. You can do this on a lightly oiled baking mat, if you choose; or simply stretch the dough in your hands.Stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan, then gently push it up the sides of the pan. The olive oil may ooze over the edge of the crust; that's OK. Let the crust rest for 15 minutes or so, and pre-heat your oven to 425°F.

Bake the crust for 12 minutes, until it is set and barely beginning to brown.

While it's baking, prepare the sauce: Pour the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and dried herbs, and sauté 1-2 minutes until garlic is golden. Add fire-roasted tomatoes with juices and cook for 5 minutes to reduce slightly, and then add tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes more.

Cover the bottom of the crust with the sliced mozzarella, fanning it into the crust. Add the sausage, onions and peppers, and then the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.

Bake the pizza for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and carefully lift it out of the pan onto a rack. A giant spatula is a help here. Allow the pizza to cool for about 15 minutes (or longer, for less oozing) before cutting and serving with extra parmesan.

Recipe by Sarah Lang