Spinach Noodle Ring

March 29, 2021

This recipe for Spinach Noodle Ring is a much beloved family recipe, my mom made it every year for Easter growing up! I usually make it now, in the busy few days of the Triduumm leading up to Easter, so I didn’t break out my big girl camera, but I really want this recipe on the blog for posterity’s sake (and so I can google it instead of search through my recipe box). So despite my bad pictures from my iPhone, I am so happy to share this here on the blog.

This dish is such a wonderful addition to an Easter Dinner menu. It is great for carb lovers & vegetarians, but the herbs that go into it go so well with ham or savory meat. The secret ingredient is a lot of poultry seasoning, with its blend of thyme, sage, rosemary and nutmeg. And of course, a lot of butter.

There is also a lot of sour cream, which keeps the whole dish so moist and creamy. The eggs help bind the whole thing so that each slice is a salty, herby creamed-spinach-meets-pasta extravaganza.

We have always cooked this in a bundt cake type ring pan but I have also made it in an angel food cake pan, as well as a 9×11 glass lasagna pan. It’s versitle but slicing it like a cake does feel festive I have to say. 

You can also fill the middle with sautéed mushrooms (see recipe) for some more savoriness, though I didn’t do it for these pictures. A bunch of parsley or watercress could also go in there. Or use your imagination…Easter grass? Colored Eggs? Or just leave it simple like I did. (You can tell we have had a lot of variations over the years.)  

I hope you are getting to celebrate with family, and that you have a most Happy + Blessed Easter!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Spinach Noodle Ring

Note: This amount fills a bundt pan or angel food cake pan to the top. You can cut it in half for a smaller crowd and cook it in a 8×10 pan or smaller cake pan.

2 packages Wide Egg Noodles

4 10 oz packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

8 Tbsp. (1 stick of butter) divided

2 cups chopped onions

6 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups sour cream (1 regular sized container)

2 Tbsp. poultry seasoning

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

 

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook egg noodles according to package directions.

Melt 3 Tablespoons butter in a large pan. Add onions and sautée until soft, about 5-7 min.

Melt remaining 5 Tablespoons of butter. Add to egg mixture and combine well. Then add sour cream, poultry seasoning salt, pepper, and spinach and stir to combine well.

Add noodles to spinach mixture and stir to combine. Pour into a ring mold or glass 9 x 11 pan.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes for a ring mold, 30 min. for a 9 x 11 pan or until it starts to brown.

 

For the Sauteed Mushrooms for the Middle (Optional)

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 16 oz. package of sliced mushrooms, sautéed in butter for 10 min until brown

1 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp. pepper, mixed into sautéed mushrooms, served in the middle of cooked noodle ring.

My Mom’s Irish Soda Bread

March 16, 2021

 

I am re-sharing my mom’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread in time for St. Paddy’s Day! I have been on the blog making her Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe for my slow cookers (I always make 2!) this week also.

This sweet goodness starts showing up a few weeks before St. Paddy’s Day around her house. If you have been around this blog long enough, you know I grew up in a family of ten with a mom who was a great cook. As soon as I was married, those food memories followed me and through lots of phone calls and dog-earred recipe cards, I managed to get copies of many of our families favorite recipes.  This one has been at the top of my list these last few years, and now it’s here.

When I was in college I went abroad to London. I bought Irish Soda Bread at the grocery store and it tasted like sawdust. I had no idea it could be a whole wheat loaf, so coarse and dry, since my thoughts of soda bread are light, fluffy, moist and sweet with bits of dried fruit and a sweet glaze on top. Because that’s the soda bread my mom made growing up.

I love the combination of the caraway seeds with the little bits of apricot and golden raisins she usually uses. And the buttermilk makes it taste so tender. It is wonderful toasted with a little butter for breakfast. It’s such a wonderful food memory for me now, and such a distinctive combination of flavors. (It’s hard to go wrong with flour and butter and sugar right?). I’m so glad I am going to always have it here on the blog (one of my favorite parts of food blogging – my favorite recipes are so easy to find!).

I love that this serves as such a nice gift for others too, and you can buy little paper or wooden bread pans for easy distribution.

I like to use the mini loaf sizes too, and you can usually cut the cooking time in half for the smaller loaves, just keep watching it until the edges are brown. I hope you try this, and it becomes one of your family traditions too.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Mom’s Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 ½ teaspoons salt

1 stick of butter (room temperature)

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk, divided

1 Tablespoon caraway seeds

1 cup raisins, golden raisins or other dried fruit like cranberries or apricots, diced if large

 

For glaze:

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

water

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients and butter together so it’s like a pie crust. Add raisins or dried fruit. Add caraway seeds and mix. Add eggs and 1 cup of the buttermilk and mix well. Add remaining cup of buttermilk and mix well.

Bake in 2 greased loaf pans for 50-60 minutes, until edges look browned.

While the bread bakes, mix together confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough water to form a glaze.

Remove from oven and then take out of bread pans. Drizzle with glaze while bread is warm.

 

 

Picadillo

March 12, 2021

It seems like there are two speeds when I am searching for a new family dinners: can’t find anything we haven’t tried or I find ALL THE DISHES.

We are currently enjoying a walk down the latter situation, and this dish was a recent gem of a find – Picadillo. The first time I heard of it was recently, when my neighbor had stopped by and after chatting a bit said, “well, I need to head home and make piccadillo for dinner.” Pretty much everyone knows I’m going to ask about a dinner I haven’t heard of, so she gave me the whole history of it: it is a Spanish/Latin American dish that is like a hash (it comes from the word picar which means ‘to mince’). There are endless variations, but the presence of ground beef, potatoes, and chopped vegetables along with an interesting mixture of warm spices like cinnamon, chili powder, and cumin make every bite super flavorful. Cinnamon in a savory dish was so interesting.

My seven year old gave it a 10/10 after previously looking at it and saying he didn’t think he would like it. So if you are in the habit of taking grade schoolers as your food critic, there’s that.

I think kids really love any meal that is meat and potatoes, and we all agreed that this dinner was great comfort food. You can get very inventive with the toppings you use too – cilantro, green olives, sliced jalapeños, tabasco or sriracha for a kick, or even raisins are all some of the spice/sweet/savory combos you can use. It is also really easy to make.

These beauties all cook together until it looks like this:

Then you add the spices, tomato paste and stir for a minute. Then you add the broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 20 min while you cook some rice in the rice cooker. We loved serving it with rice and also loved having Naan bread or flat bread to soak up the juices because who doesn’t need three carbs at dinner?

This recipe will definitely be on repeat at our house, it is a new favorite! I hope you can make it your new favorite too.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Picadillo (I doubled this recipe to feed our crowd)

 

Ingredients: 

1 tbspExtra virgin olive oil

1 lb Ground beef, 80/20

1 Small yellow onion, diced

4 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 Green bell pepper, cored and finely chopped

1 Large carrot, grated

1 tsp Sea salt

2 tsp Chili powder

1 tsp Dried oregano

2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

2 tbsp Tomato paste

2 cups Chicken stock

1 Large russet potato, peeled and 1/2 inch diced

Cooked rice for serving

Warm tortillas for serving

Fresh cilantro for serving

Jalapeño peppers slices, green olives and sriracha or tabasco for serving

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil In a large skillet set over medium high heat, cook the beef with the onions, garlic, bell pepper and carrots until meat is browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add in the salt, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and tomato paste mix for 30 seconds until incorporated.
  3. Add in the chicken stock and potatoes, mix to combine. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are tender and the mixture has completely thickened, about 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with cooked rice or warmed tortillas, fresh cilantro and peppers if you want extra heat.

This recipe originally appeared on The Modern Proper.

 

Creamy Lemon Cod Piccata

March 4, 2021

 

I could not be more excited to share this recipe with you all. I can’t believe it took me so long to discover how easy it is to make Piccata (in 15 minutes!) but now that I know I will be making this as often as my cravings hit.  And I know they will, because one of our favorite restaurants in the area has halibut piccata on their menu and I have been craving it ever since I tried it on Valentine’s Day. Crispy, buttery fish and lemony sauce with salty capers is such a perfect combination.

As you probably know, Piccata is a sauce that is always a combination of lemon juice and capers, but can be made clear or creamy, and it can be with different proteins. Chicken Piccata is very easy to make, especially if you use thin chicken cutlets which cook quickly. I was craving fish though, and when I saw that my local fish counter carried wild caught cod at half the price of halibut, I decided to make it with cod and it was so good. But any meaty white fish will do.

I wrote this recipe to serve 6 so feel free to scale it back if you are not cooking for an army like I am. But two pounds of cod was the perfect amount to get 6 pieces.

I was seriously so amazed that such a light dredge of flour gave each piece such a perfect golden crust. And even more amazed that once the fish was cooked, the sauce came together so fast. And trust me, you will want to drink this sauce. I made it with white wine too, and the combo of lemon and wine reminded me of one of my favorite recipes on this blog, Chicken Fricassee.

Once the fish are cooked, you just set them aside, and in the pan you add butter and garlic, then the wine, then the chicken broth and cream and capers. To help thicken the sauce, you reserve a little of the broth and whisk in corn starch.

If you are trying to eat less meat for Lent, this dinner is perfect, except for the fact that it is anything but sacrificing to eat this. It tastes like you are at your favorite restaurant (especially when you serve it with perfectly cooked asparagus and mashed potatoes made with a potato ricer for the first time like I did!).

I hope you get to try this dish soon, it is such a classic for a reason. Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Creamy Lemon Cod Piccata

Serves 6

 

Ingredients

2 lb Cod Fillets cut into 6 pieces

Salt and Pepper, seasoning

1/2 cup Flour of choice

5 tablespoons Butter

2 tablespoon Olive Oil

6 Garlic Cloves, minced

2/3 cup Dry White Wine, optional

2 cup Chicken Broth

4 teaspoons Cornstarch

1/3 cup Lemon Juice

6-8 tablespoons Capers, rinsed and drained

1 cup Heavy Cream

Instructions

  1. Season both sides of the Cod Fillets with salt and pepper. Put flour on a plate and dredge each fillet into the flour, covering both sides.
  2. In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of the Butter andthe Olive Oil over medium-high heat. Add the cod fillets and sauté for 4 minutes on each side; transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of Butterto the skillet and scrape down the sides. Place the Garlic into the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute and then pour in the White Wine. Cook until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 3 to 5 more minutes. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the Chicken Broth, all of the Lemon Juice, and Heavy Cream into the skillet, bring to a boil.
  4. Add the Cornstarchto the remaining Chicken Broth and whisk to mix evenly. Pour into the skillet and stir to combine. Once sauce thickens, about 1 more minute of cooking, place the fillets back into the skillet and top with Capers. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.

Recipe adapted from the wonderful one by Aimee Mars 

 

Spiced Cauliflower Nachos

February 27, 2021

 

We’ve been up north in Maine skiing this past week for our kids’ February vacation (mea culpa on not posting last week! I’m back to my regular scheduled programing). The snow made for great skiing and super relaxing apres skiing and so far 2021 has logged more vacation days than I’ve ever had in my whole entire life if you count our trip to the Bahamas.

Though I don’t know if ‘vacation day’ is the right word to use when caring for six kids (including twin three year olds who wake up with the sun which actually means I get to see some pretty epic sunrises) and all the laundry and meals they require. Still, I’m counting us lucky ducks and am deeply grateful for our babysitter Beth who used to run the ski mountain daycare and now comes to our house for our boys due to Covid shutting it down. #silverlinings

I love making cozy meals in the crockpot for after skiing, and I made comfort food meals like Cheeseburger soup and spaghetti and meatballs. When Friday rolled around, a day we typically don’t eat meat – especially during Lent – we were actually too tired to run out and get cheese pizza (there is no delivery where our camp is) but luckily I had just read a recipe for Lunch Nachos with Spiced Cauliflower on Bon Appetit via Theology of Home (be sure to get on their email list, it is like a finely curated newspaper in my inbox everyday). I happened to have nearly all the ingredients (all but the watermelon radishes, because if you go on a ski vacation in Maine and travel with watermelon radishes you’re my hero).

I decided they would work for dinner as well as lunch so I cooked up the cauliflower thinking if nothing else it was at least sort of healthy, and then I tasted one. Oh my gosh, they were amazing! The technique of letting them get brown and soft by not touching them for a few minutes on each side yields delicious results. I didn’t have coriander up there so I substituted chili powered and I might repeat that substitution because it went perfectly with the whole vibe. So smokey and full of flavor.

I made a huge tray and it fed six of us well (three year olds had quesadillas). I am sure the watermelon radishes soaked in rice wine vinegar would be amazing, but any way you can top nachos – which are already pretty much the perfect meal – with spiced cauliflower will be a great day. Having these with a skinny margarita (or two), and watching the Avengers movies in order with your whole family makes for a perfect fill-your-heart-to-the-brim day. 

I am wishing you quiet nights like those with these nachos for you soon!

Happy Eating,

xoxo Katie

Spiced Cauliflower Nachos

Ingredients

{1 cup thinly sliced radishes, red onion, cabbage, carrots, or other firm vegetable

½ cup seasoned rice vinegar } these are optional. Don’t let not having them stop you from making these! 

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1 small head of cauliflower, halved through stem end, thinly sliced

1 tsp. ground coriander (I substituted 1 tsp. chili powder which was delicious)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. paprika

Kosher salt

1 bag tortilla chips  (or as many will lay flat on your tray)

1 can refried beans

16 oz. sharp cheddar, coarsely grated

Chopped avocado, jalapeños, cilantro leaves with tender stems, and plain yogurt (for serving)

Preparation

Step 1

Toss radishes and vinegar in a small bowl to combine; set aside.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook garlic, tossing often, until golden around edges, about 2 minutes. Add cauliflower; cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, about 3 minutes. Toss, then continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until browned all over and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes more. Add coriander/chili powder, cumin, paprika, and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Cook, tossing, until very fragrant, about 1 minute; season with salt.

Step 3

Spread half of chips on a small rimmed baking sheet. Arrange half of cauliflower on top. Dollop half of beans over, then sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat layers one more time. Bake until cheese is melted, 10–12 minutes. Top with drained radishes, avocado, jalapeños, cilantro, and yogurt.

Recipe adapted from The New York Times 

Fish En Papillote

February 17, 2021


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Note: I am reposting this recipe in time for some meat-free meals for Lent. I know I am always trying to get some ideas now to make meal planning easier. Fish tacos, shrimp scampi, frittatas and cheese pizza are some other favorites. Happy Lent! 

I can’t remember where I first heard of Fish en Papillote (Fish in Paper). It’s a classic French method for cooking fish and veggies but do not let that scare you. Ever wrapped a potato in tin foil and baked it? You’ve got the method down pat.

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I am possibly the most excited to share this post of any that I’ve ever done, because I know once you know this method you will have a way to cook fish that is simple, quick (cooks in 10 minutes!) easy, rustic, elegant, and did I mention easy?

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I used to make this a lot when I was trying to eat light after my third baby, and now that I remember how yummy it is, it will be on heavy rotation.

But trust me, because with these flavors and a high quality cut of fish, can it possibly taste awful? Especially when you put little to no effort in. These beauties did all the work:

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For the record, I made this before I ever did Whole30 because it is so so good. I feel like this is important to mention because I hate feeling deprived, I love flavor, and this is one of those great dishes that makes you feel indulged without any guilt.

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But for those of you who are looking for meat-free meals for Lent, or are simply eating light as spring is starting to ease its way into our open windows and sunlit doors and you are remembering you might need to put on a bathing suit in a few months, this one’s for you.

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You can use any kind of fish – salmon, sole, mahi mahi, tuna, halibut, etc. Just adjust time for thickness – a thin filet less then an inch thick gets 8 minutes, a thicker one gets 10-12. I used halibut a little on the thicker side and 12 minutes was perfect.

Make sure you chop your vegetables thin so they’ll cook in the same time as the fish. You can easily just slice them very thin crosswise too.

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Oh, and what’s that? No clean up either since you just throw your paper away? It is almost magical how perfect this dish is, isn’t it?

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Fish En Papillote (printer version here)

Preheat your oven to 425, then:

1. Chop your veggies. Pick any veggies you like – snap peas, asparagus, red pepper, zucchini or summer squash, carrots, onions, celery, leeks, mushrooms are all fantastic steamed with fish.  You want to cut them very thin so they steam in the same amount of time as the fish. I julienned mine (badly) but you can just as easily slice them in thin rounds if you are in a hurry.

2. Lay out a rectangle of parchment paper, fold it in half, and lay your fish on one of the halves. Season with salt & pepper and add a pat of butter.

3. Pile on your veggies, followed by herbs – dill is so great with fish, but I’ve loved thyme with white fish too. I have even added herbed mayo to salmon. Season veggies with a little salt and pepper (being careful not to over salt – you can add more to taste after it’s cooked).

4. Drizzle with lemon and olive oil. (White wine is amazing splashed on here too. Just not whole30 approved as you probably know).

5. Starting at one of the corners next to the fold, start to twist the edges on itself so that the paper forms a seal, allowing the steam inside to cook the fish and veggies. You want to take your time and do it carefully because if steam leaks out it may not be fully cooked.