Tag Archives: Mozzarella

Spinach, Tomato and Chicken Pasta Bake

Spinach, tomato and chicken bake
Is there a better combination than basil, tomato, and mozzarella? There’s something so soothing about the familiar flavor combination and truth be told, I’ll look for any excuse I can to use it. A few weeks back I marinated cherry tomatoes in espresso balsamic vinegar and skewered them with squares of fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf, and called it an appetizer. Or I called it dinner. Whatever.

This chicken pasta bake is easy as pie and is a great way to use up leftover shredded chicken if you have some in the fridge. And who doesn’t ALWAYS have leftover shredded chicken in the fridge? This is also a brilliant way to get spinach-haters to eat the good greens. The BF barely noticed it underneath all that cheese. #Win

On the menu:
Spinach, tomato and chicken pasta bake
Serves 3

1 1/2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
1 medium sized tomato, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to instructions.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and spinach and cook for 3 minutes or until spinach is cooked down. Add chicken and basil and stir until combined.

In a large bowl, combine pasta, chicken mixture, ricotta cheese, and 1/2 the mozzarella. Stir mixture until combined and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a large baking dish (I used a 9 inch round tart dish) and cover with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Vegetarian Week: Zucchini Quiche


When it came to choosing the focal point of the meal I knew I did not want to serve pasta. If you are a vegetarian or know any vegetarians, you know that 75% of vegetarian entrees involve pasta in one way shape or form. Ignoring the fact that a steady diet of pasta is diabetes waiting to happen, how boring is that? Pasta with vegetables 24/7. Womp womp.

This dish is not ground breaking or even particularly new but it had even the meat eaters at the table going in for seconds. It’s hearty, it’s filling, it is by no means healthy, but it fits the bill of main dish quite nicely in this vegetarian meal.

On the menu:
Zucchini quiche
Serves 4

1 pre-made pie crust or use this recipe for homemade
2 Tbsp butter
2 large zucchini, sliced into 1/8 inch thick rounds
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup half and half
3 eggs
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of pepper
Paprika

Bake pie crust as directed. If you’re using homemade pie crust, roll out the dough in your pie or tart pan, prick the bottom with a fork, and bake until lightly brown. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, sautee zucchini in butter until slices are softened. Drain the zucchini of all moisture (NOTE: this is important, as zucchini has a surprising amount of water in it and if you don’t cook it down and drain it, your quiche will be a soggy mess).

Fill your cooled pie crust with half the zucchini. Top with mozzarella cheese. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs together. Add salt, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and pepper and whisk until completely combined. Add ricotta cheese and half and half, and whisk until combined. Pour egg mixture into the pie tin and spread so it’s evenly distributed. Top with remaining zucchini slices in an aesthetically pleasing pattern. Top with a sprinkle of paprika.

Bake the quiche for 45 minutes or until firm. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Vegetarian Week: Appetizer

Hello friends! Welcome to vegetarian week on Food E. I know it doesn’t really fall within the traditional parameters I’ve set for myself here on my “eat butter and beef and don’t apologize for it” food blog, but this past weekend I challenged myself to make an all-vegetarian meal in honor of my mother’s first visit to my new-ish apartment. She’s a vegetarian and is often relegated to pasta with peas or platters of roasted vegetables when we go out to dinner. My goal for the meal was to create a full spread that not only she would enjoy, but also The BF and my father, both proud carnivores, would love, as well.

Each day this week I’ll share a recipe from this meal and by Friday you’ll have a stack of recipes that you can use to create a complete and filling vegetarian meal yourself. No boring pastas included.

On the menu:
Caprese crostini
Serves 4

1/2 baguette
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch fresh basil, leaves plucked from the stems
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, sliced
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar*

Slice baguette into 1/2 inch rounds with a sharp bread knife. Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer and distribute olive oil evenly over the tops (I used a spoon but if you have a basting brush, use that). Bake rounds at 350 degrees for around 10 minutes or until the rounds are stiff to the touch. DO NOT wait until they are brown! They will be too crispy by the time you serve them if you wait for them to brown up in the oven.

Top each round with a slice of mozzarella, a basil leaf, and a slice of tomato. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top, plate, and serve.

*I’ve been meaning to highlight an incredible store I visited in Virginia called Savor the Olive where I purchased an espresso balsamic vinegar, which I served in place of your standard balsamic. The espresso balsamic has a smoother finish than traditional balsamic and just a hint of espresso flavor. Savor the Olive offers dark and white balsamics (imagine a white apricot balsamic drizzled over vanilla ice cream…), and every olive oil under the sun. If you’re ever fortunate enough to be in the area of Norfolk, Virginia you should definitely swing by.

2 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Simple Dish

Sometimes you find yourself with too much squash. Don’t you hate that? It’s what some might call a “First World Problem.” Along the same lines as, “Someone scratched my Porsche in the parking lot of Nobu” and “The Pellegrino is flat.” Well, kids, I am really good at turning lemons into lemonade. Seriously, it’s just juice, sugar, and water… it’s not hard. I’m also really good at turning a surplus of something into a delicious dish!

On the menu:
Zucchini (or Mexican squash!) with Ricotta
Serves 2

1 large squash (yellow squash, green squash, zucchini, Mexican squash, whatever your heart desires)
2 Tbsp ricotta
1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice squash in half and scrape out seeds with a spoon. Lay skin side down on a baking dish. Mix together cheeses, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Fill each half of the squash with ricotta mixture and top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes.

This dish is perfect as a side dish, appetizer, or snack. And it’s as easy as pie. I literally whipped this together in 5 minutes before I ran out to get my laundry. And then I ate it alongside half a pizza. Don’t judge. K thanks.

2 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Melted

Happy Friday and a VERY happy weekend! Today’s post is blatantly stolen from Serious Eats but this was too good to pass up. This weekend, when you’re at the green market, pick up some figs because we are smack dab in the middle of fig season! You can use these suckers in so many different ways, but I like this salty sweet crusty melty cheesy combination the best.

photo c/o SeriousEats.com

It’s a take on the classic BLT that involves figs, prosciutto, and melted mozzarella cheese. Hungry? Me, too. Have a blissful weekend, kids!

1 Comment

Filed under Miscellaneous

A Fish of a Different Color

Lately I’ve been feeling a little… chunky. Not like sophomore year of college where I literally had to buy a new pair of pants whilst working at the mall because the pair I was wearing was cutting off my circulation, but… chunky. It’s bathing suit season, you know? Time to lay off the extra mayo and pancake appetizers at brunch. Forget I just indulged in all-you-can-eat gnocchi. It never happened.

It is in the spirit of lighter options that I experimented with tuna and planned a weekday lunch for myself that won’t lead to high cholesterol at the young age of twenty-COUGH.

On the menu:
Mediterranean tuna salad
Serves 2

1 can of albacore tuna in water (or 1/2 cup tuna steak, roughly chopped)
2 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked according to directions on box (I used elbow macaroni, but you can use any little chunky pasta)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes
2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp fresh lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THESE DIRECTIONS THEY ARE VERY VERY COMPLICATED: Toss pasta with olive oil. Add tuna. Add fruit. Add cheese. Add zest. Add salt and pepper. Toss. Eat. Feel healthy. Be happy.

I like this in a bowl with a fork, but you could easily put this on some toasted Italian bread, or melted between two pieces of flat bread with the chunks of mozzarella binding it together. But, as I mentioned, I’m trying to fit into last year’s summer wardrobe and extraneous bread ain’t gonna help me there.

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes