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Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage & Spinach

Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage & Spinach

Ingredients

1 lb Orecchiette, cooked to package directions
1 lb ground sausage (breakfast, sweet Italian or Andouille)
1 tbsp olive oil
½ chopped red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups baby spinach
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
splash dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 oz high quality crumbled feta (I prefer sheep feta for it’s deep, tangy flavor)

Directions

Cook the pasta to package directions in plenty of salted water. Drain and return the pasta back to the cooking pot, set on the counter.

While the pasta is cooking make the sauce. Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sausage and break apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until no pink remains, about 7-10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the olive oil and onions to the skillet. No need to rinse the skillet, leave a small amount of sausage grease in the pan to enhance the flavor of the onions. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and translucent. Add the garlic at the last 30 seconds of cooking the onion. Add the spinach, wine and lemon juice to the skillet. Cook a few minutes until the spinach is wilted. Transfer the sausage back into the skillet. Cook until all is hot, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the sausage mixture into the pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to a large serving dish and top with crumbled feta cheese.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Couscous in Foil Packets

Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Couscous in Foil Packets

Ingredients

2 cups cooked pearl couscous
1 lb boneless salmon filets (skin on or removed)
olive oil
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 yellow summer squash. sliced
1 red onion, sliced
¾ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
¾ cup sliced Kalamata olives
2 lemons, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt
4 fl oz vegetable broth
½ cup chopped Italian parsley

Directions

Prepare couscous to package directions. Pre heat the grill to medium high (400-450 degrees.) If cooking over an open flame, place a grill grate over the fire.

Place a large piece of tin foil on a work surface. Drizzle some olive oil on the bottom.
For each salmon slice, layer on the following (remember to divide all ingredients into four portions): 1/2 cup cooked couscous, one slice salmon, yellow summer squash, zucchini, tomato, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, lemon slices, garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper & parsley. Drizzle some broth and a little more oil over the top. Fold the foil edges over the salmon making a packet. Leave a little room in the packet for air to circulate.

Place the wrapped salmon over the grill or open flame and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the salmon and your desired level of doneness. You can test salmon while it’s cooking by opening up the foil, but be careful of the steam! Using a sharp knife peek into the thickest part of the baked salmon. It’s almost done when it’s beginning to flake, but still has a little translucency in the middle. Once your salmon flakes easily with a fork, it’s done. If you like it a bit more on the rare side take it off the grill at the very slightly translucent phase and let it rest off the grill for a few minutes before serving.

You can also bake this in the oven! Simply follow all of the prep work and preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place the wrapped salmon on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon is done to your liking. See Step 4 for how to judge doneness.

This salmon can also be enjoyed the day after you cook it. Simply reheat in a lightly oiled skillet or in the microwave.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Blue Corn Pancakes with Vanilla Crema & Raspberry Sauce

Recipe: Blue Corn Pancakes with Vanilla Crema & Raspberry Sauce

Ingredients

Blue Corn Pancakes
1 ½ cups fine-ground blue cornmeal
1 ½ cups boiling water
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 ½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp Kosher salt
¾ tsp baking soda
4 large eggs, beaten
¾ cup whole milk (or unsweetened coconut milk)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted (let cool a bit) plus more for the griddle
Vanilla Crema
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
¼ cup Mexican crema, sour cream, or plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
¼ cup pure maple syrup
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Berry Sauce
2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup granulated sugar, taste

Directions

Combine the blue cornmeal with the boiling water and maple syrup. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter. Add the egg mixture and the cornmeal to the flour mixture. Whisk until just combined (there will be some lumps in the batter.)

Melt a pat of butter in a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Place 1/3 cup portions of batter onto the hot skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on the tops of the pancakes and the sides look cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip and continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Continue until the batter is used up. Pancakes can be kept warm in a 200˚F oven up to 30 minutes. Serve the pancakes with the vanilla cream and raspberry sauce.

Vanilla Crema

Place ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low speed until the cream starts to thicken then increase speed to medium and whip until soft peaks form 2-3 minutes.

Berry Sauce

Place the berries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes and mix with a wooden spoon, the berries will start to release their juices. Add some water to the sauce if needed.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Grilled Brie with Tomatoes and Basil

Recipe: Grilled Brie with Tomatoes and Basil

Ingredients

2 wedges brie cheese, or 1 large round
1 pt grape tomatoes, quartered or 1 pound ripe tomatoes diced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¾ tsp salt and more to taste
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped basil ribbons, chiffonade
1 loaf sliced rustic baguette or pita chips
balsamic glaze and shaved parmesan for topping

Directions

Tomato Basil Salad

Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt pepper and basil in a large bowl.

Grilled Brie

Line a 10 inch cast iron skillet or griddle with foil (this makes for an easier clean up.) Place the brie in the center of the skillet. Grill over a campfire or hot grill for 15-20 minutes or until the brie softens and bubbles.

Baked Brie

This is easy to make in your kitchen too! Simply preheat oven to 375˚F with the rack in the middle.

Line a 10 inch cast iron skillet or griddle with foil (this makes for an easier clean up.) Place the brie in the center of the skillet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the brie softens and bubbles.

Serving

Top the melted brie with the tomato basil mixture. Top with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and shaved parmesan. Serve with baguette.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Recipe: Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Ingredients

¼ cup full fat mayonnaise
½ cup full fat sour cream
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until well combined and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sauce will last up to one week stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts

Recipe: Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts

Ingredients

Pastry Dough
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp Kosher salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup ice water
Strawberry Filling
1 lb fresh strawberries, stems removed and quartered
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pinch Kosher salt
For Assembly
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk
¼ tsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp strawberry filling for each pop tart
Vanilla Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
34 tbsp milk
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
food coloring and sprinkles if desired

Directions

Pastry Dough

Place the flour salt and salt in the bowl of a food processor, pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter and water. Pulse until just combined. At this point you should be able to pinch the dough together with your fingers. If it’s too crumbly add the tiniest bits of ice water until the dough just sticks together. Transfer the dough to a large, clean work area. Divide dough into two portions and press into flat disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to two days.

Strawberry Filling

In a medium saucepan combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon until the strawberries start to sizzle. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook and mix for 10-15 minutes, until the berries release their juices and become saucy. Transfer the strawberries to a heat proof container and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, place in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Assemble the Pop Tarts

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Remove the dough one disk at a time from the fridge. Remove the plastic wrap and let the dough sit out a few minutes on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, trim the dough to 4 X 2 1/2 inch rectangles. Save any scraps and continue to roll until you don’t have enough dough left to continue. Do the same process with the second disk. You should end up with 22 rectangles.

Make the egg wash: whisk together the egg with the milk and salt.

Spread one tablespoon of the strawberry filling onto the center of eleven rectangles. Brush some egg wash on the edges of the dough. Place the other eleven pieces of dough over the ones with the filling. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal the tarts. Using a paring knife, cut three small slits or “X’s” in the top of each pop tart. This will ensure that the pop tarts don’t explode while baking. Place the filled pop tarts onto the baking sheets with and inch in between each tart.

Brush the egg wash on the tops of each pop tart. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Frosting the Pop Tarts

While the pop tarts are cooling make the frosting. Whisk together the powdered sugar with milk and vanilla. Add a few drops of food coloring if desired. Drizzle the frosting over the pop tarts and add sprinkles while the frosting is still runny. Let the frosting set for a few minutes. Serve at room temperature.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container. Enjoy within 3 days.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Vegan Mushroom Soup

Recipe: Vegan Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

4 tbsp olive oil
1 (1 1/2 cups) yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¾ cup celery, chopped
¾ cup carrots, chopped
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 cups vegetable broth
½ cup dry white wine
2 tbsp soy sauce or gluten free tamari
1 ½ lbs fresh mushrooms, sliced. Mix of Cremini and white button mushrooms.
½ lb Shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 (13.5 ounce can) full fat coconut milk
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp sweet paprika
ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cook another 2 minutes. Mix in the celery and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring so the veggies don’t stick to the pot.

Stir in the broth, wine, lemon juice, soy sauce. Add the mushrooms. Bring to a boil then a simmer. Mix in the coconut milk. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with black pepper.

Serve hot topped with some fresh chopped parsley.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Sheet Pan Roasted Veggies with Feta

Recipe: Sheet Pan Roasted Veggies with Feta

Ingredients

2 broccoli crowns, sliced into florets
1 pt cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
½ red onion, sliced
½ zucchini, sliced into half moons
½ lemon, cut into slices
1 8 ounce block of feta cheese
6 mini bell peppers, sliced in half
¼ cup olive oil
sea salt, pepper and dried oregano

Directions

Pre heat oven to 400˚ Fahrenheit.

Slice all the veggies, lemon and feta. Place on an unlined sheet pan in a single layer.

Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with quinoa, rice or pasta.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Recipe: Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Ingredients

2 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup brown sugar (light or dark brown) loosely packed
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 2 large)
¼ cup full fat sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
¾ cup milk (any milk you prefer)
½ cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 ¾ cups fresh raspberries (frozen ok too)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit (177°C) with the rack in the middle. Grease a 12 count muffin pan with baking spray. If using muffin liners, spray them first so they don’t stick to the liners. This will make 15 muffins, if you have an extra muffin pan handy prep that as well.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and brown sugar getting out as many lumps as possible. Fold in the mashed banana, sour cream and beaten egg. Add the wet into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Batter will be thick. Mix in the milk. Fold in the chocolate chips, then carefully the raspberries. Be very gentle with the berries so they don’t turn the batter pink. Do not overmix the batter as it will toughen the muffins.

Evenly divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling to the top. Top with more chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 17-18 minutes, until you see light brown edges. A toothpick inserted into the centers should come out virtually crumb-free. If you are using the same pan for the three extra muffins, fill the empty muffin time halfway with water so the muffins bake evenly and your pan doesn’t warp.

Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.

Place the peanut butter, sugar and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment until well combine.

Make small balls (about 1 1/2 inches) with your hands and evenly space apart on the baking sheet. Using the back of a fork make a criss- cross pattern on each cookie.

Bake for 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before enjoying.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Quick Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Recipe: Quick Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 ½ lbs ripe tomatoes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ lb whole wheat spaghetti
¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for topping
freshly grated parmesan for serving

Directions

While the pasta is cooking. Roughly chop 2/3 of the tomatoes. Over a large bowl, grate the rest of the tomatoes using the large holes of a box grater.

Combine the chopped and grated tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, sugar, garlic and pepper in the large bowl. Let rest 10 minutes for the flavors to combine.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Immediately place the pasta back into the pasta pot.

Add the tomato sauce into the pasta with the 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid. Cook over medium heat until hot and the cooking liquid is absorbed. Mix in the 1/4 cup chopped basil during the last minute.

Serve immediately with more basil and parmesan cheese.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Ingredients

12 oz Cavatappi, macaroni or bow tie pastacook to package directions, rinse in cold water when done
1 (8.4 oz) pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 (8 oz) jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, no need to drain the oil
1 cup chopped red onion
1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
2 tbsp freshly chopped Italian parsley
5 oz shaved parmesan cheese
Champagne Vinaigrette
cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 pinch granulated sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Cook pasta to package directions. Drain and toss with cold water. Set aside.

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.

Toss everything together in a very large serving bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

~ Marla Meridith