Monday, June 18, 2012

Meal Planning Mondays: Kiss an Italian Grandmother week.



This past week included two bombdiggitydotcom recipes from our one and only Nonna. For reals people, i married my husband simply so i could be invited to eat at his house.The way to my heart was through my stomach, my poor mother-in-law should have known.
She's the type who spends days in preparation for a good meal. The spread is legendary in looks and taste and humanly impossible to consume in its entirety (though we give it our best shot). 

So, in honor of Nonna,
i want you to try these recipes for a tasty summer meal
find the nearest Italian grandmother
 give her a big squeeeeze
and say

Ti Amo!

Then beg her to let you eat at her house.


....................................................................

1. Perfect one bowl meal. Makes enough to feed two families (which we did, as I made this on special request from a best friend who just had her second baby and specifically asked for "that amazing orzo salad thing"). 


 Chicken Orzo Salad

½  teas. Cumin
½ teas. Thyme
½ teas. Minced garlic                             
1 teas. Dried  oregano
1 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons wine vinegar
6 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teas. Salt
1 teas. Pepper
2 teas. Dijon mustard

Wisk  above  ingredients  together  and  set  aside.

¾  lb. orzo
1 bunch spinach torn into bite size pieces  (I usually put more spinach in the salad)
½ cup pine nuts
¾  pitted kalamato  olives
1 cup feta cheese
¼ cup sundried tomatoes
½  of a red bell pepper chopped
¼ cup chopped green onion
2 teas. chopped capers
1 roasted chicken – remove meat from bone and add to salad in bite size pieces

Cook orzo and drain.  After it has cooled toss with a little olive oil.  Add the rest of ingredients toss.  Add dressing a little at a time and toss to coat evenly.  This salad gets better as it sits in the refrigerator.  Yummy!


............................................................

2. {Bad picture, Great cake}

I like my cakes dense and moist: just like this one. My Dad loves carrot cake so it  made for a great Father's Day gift.



Nonna's Carrot Cake
 3 cups sifted flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teas of baking soda
1 ¼ teas salt
1 teas baking powder
1 8 ¾ can crushed pineapple (drained-reserve the juice)
3 eggs beaten
1 ½ cups salad oil
2 teas vanilla
2 cups grated raw carrots

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Mix well.  Drain pineapple, set aside.
Make a well in center of flour mixture and add pineapple juice, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Blend thoroughly.  Stir in pineapple, and carrots.  Turn into a greased 10 inch tube pan.  Bake @ 325 in a preheated oven for 1 ½ hours or until done.  (my oven always takes longer)  Cool completely and frost with homemade cream cheese frosting.

.......................................................................


3. Unrelated to Italian cooking but SERIOUSLY WORTHY OF ATTENTION. 


I couldn't believe how much my kids loved this meal. I'm a huge fan of lettuce wraps and peanut sauce and the whole shabang, but seriously?! Watching your kids devour vegetables with such enthusiasm makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy. I think they loved the crunch of the crispy veggies and the fun of wrapping your hands around something so messy. The rice added a nice bulk that made for a total meal. They even LOVED the tofu! Whaaaaat?!!! I recommend this for a fun weekend dinner. We will definitely be trying this one again.
  • Sauce:
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Filling:
  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 6 thinly sliced green onions (about 2/3 cup), divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut cucumbers
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 2 cups hot cooked sticky rice
  • 8 Bibb lettuce leaves (We did Iceberg instead and loved it)

Preparation

1. To prepare sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallot, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water and next 3 ingredients (through red pepper), and stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice.
2. To prepare filling, spread crumbled tofu in a single layer on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 20 minutes, pressing down occasionally.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 1/3 cup green onions; sauté 1 minute. Add tofu; sauté for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and Sriracha; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cucumbers, carrots, and remaining green onions.
4. Spoon 1/4 cup rice into each lettuce leaf. Top with about 1/2 cup tofu mixture; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve with sauce.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine.










No comments: