weeknight gourmet

Posts Tagged ‘Rachael Ray’

Sausage, Peppers & Onions Stoup (and a vocab lesson)

Brrr….it is frigid in New York City!

Here is a great stoup recipe to keep warm on a cold night.  Rachael Ray uses the word stoup to refer to a dish that is heartier than a soup but not quite a stew.  As is the case with all of her recipes, a stoup typically comes together in 30 minutes.

I love sausage and peppers!  And, this recipe allowed me to enjoy the delicious taste of slow cooked sausage and peppers without all the work.  The dish came together, with minimal chopping, in about 20 minutes.

Of course, since I love a little heat, I used hot Italian sausage.  But, I am sure it would be tasty with sweet or mild sausage.  The store didn’t have bulk sausage so I just bought links and removed the casings.  I opted for crushed tomatoes over diced.  And, I used three large peppers.  Four peppers might have been too much.

YUM-O!  Make sure to have some crusty bread for dipping!

As an aside, do you know the actual definition of stoup?

noun \ˈstüp\

1 a : a beverage container (as a glass or tankard)
b : flagon
2: a basin for holy water at the entrance of a church
3. Scots A bucket or pail.

Sausage, Peppers & Onions Stoup
Rachael Ray

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds hot or sweet bulk Italian sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 cubanelle peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans or 1 (28-ounce) can crushed or diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat extra-virgin olive oil in deep skillet, add sausage and brown a few minutes then add garlic, peppers, onions and cook until soft, 6 to 7 minutes more.

Deglaze pan with a little vinegar, stir in stock and tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer, cook 5 minutes more then stir in parsley and basil and serve with cheese on top

Angus's Birthday Dinner: Beggin' Egg & Cheese Fried Rice

Today is Angus’s 2nd birthday!  Hard to believe our hairy beast is no longer a puppy!  Just like last year, I decided to make our pup a special dinner.

I turned to Rachael Ray, who has a pet friendly recipe in each issue of her magazine.  This is a take on fried rice made with brown rice, bacon, egg, rice and a little cheese.  I actually didn’t have bacon but did have some pancetta so I used that.  I also used boil-in-a-bag brown rice to speed up the meal.

Based on how quickly Angus ate his special birthday bowl of food, I think it was a hit!

Beggin’ Egg & Cheese Fried Rice
Rachael Ray

  • 2 slices turkey bacon
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley,for sprinkling

In a medium nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then finely chop.

In the same skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until warmed through, about 4 minutes. Add the cooked bacon and toss. Push the rice mixture to the side of the pan; add the egg to the pan and cook, stirring, until set, then stir into the rice. Transfer to a bowl, top with the cheddar and let cool. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Cacciatore Stoup(?) with Turkey Meatballs

Tonight, I made this tasty “stoup” — Rachael Ray’s word for a dish that is heartier than a soup but not quite a stew.  The dish boasts all the flavors of chicken cacciatore — peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, a touch of spice.


Just a few changes.  We didn’t have any bread so I just used breadcrumbs — around 3/4 cup.  I put a splash of milk in the breadcrumbs to soften them.  I also added 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the pot before adding the meatballs to give it a bit more tomato flavor.

Serve the stoup with some parmesan cheese and crusty bread.  Tim and I both had 2 bowls of this tasty dinner.

Cacciatore Stoup with Turkey Meatballs
Rachael Ray

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cubanelle peppers (light green, mild Italian peppers), seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated, divided
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how much spice you like
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 slices white bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup (a couple of handfuls) grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup (about a handful) flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Chopped fresh basil, for garnish
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
  • A loaf of crusty, whole grain bread

Place a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add mushrooms, peppers, onion and the two smashed garlic cloves, and cook until tender, 7-8 minutes. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

While vegetables cook, rip the bread into small pieces and soak them in the milk in a mixing bowl for about 5 minutes, until most of the milk has been absorbed.

Add the tomatoes and chicken stock to the soup pot with the veggies and turn up the heat to bring the stoup to a bubble.

While you’re waiting for the stoup to bubble, make the meatballs: Squeeze out the excess milk from the bread and discard it. To the mixing bowl with the soaked bread, add the ground turkey, egg, grated cheese, parsley, the remaining grated garlic clove, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix everything with your hands to combine.

Form the meat into 2-inch meatballs. Once the stoup is bubbling, drop in the meatballs then cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the meatballs are cooked through, 10-12 minutes.

To serve, ladle the stoup into shallow bowls and garnish with basil and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Pass some crusty whole grain bread at the table for mopping up the leftovers.

Cocktail Party Leftovers: Broccoli Rabe and Salami Pasta

We had a variety of leftover Italian meats from our cocktail party on Monday night.  I remembered seeing a Rachael Ray episode many months ago and decided this pasta dish could be a good use of the leftover salami and sopressata.  All I needed to pick up was broccoli rabe and ricotta cheese — I had everything else in my pantry / fridge.

The dish was quite tasty!  Cooking the rabe in salted water really removes much of the bitterness.  I used a sopressata and sweet salami in the pasta. There was a great combo of sweet, hot, salty, and bitter flavors in the dish.

I served the pasta with some roasted asparagus wrapped in proscuitto.

We ate the leftovers cold the next night before driving up to the Berkshires!

Broccoli Rabe and Salami Pasta
Rachael Ray

  • Salt
  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound rigatoni with lines, cooked to al dente
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some to pass at table
  • 1/3 pound salami, chopped (Genoa, sopressata, hot or sweet, or a mix)
  • Black pepper

Bring 2 inches water in a deep skillet to a boil for broccoli rabe and 1 large pot of water to a boil for pasta. Salt the water liberally.

Simmer the broccoli rabe in water 10 to 12 minutes, then drain. Return the skillet to medium heat with 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Add garlic and red pepper to the oil and gently cook a couple of minutes, add broccoli rabe and cook 5 minutes more.

While the broccoli rabe cooks, drop the rigatoni into the boiling water and cook until al dente. Just before draining reserve 1 cup starchy liquid.

Combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salami and black pepper, to taste, in a pasta bowl. Add the starchy liquid and stir. Add the broccoli rabe and pasta and toss 2 minutes to coat and combine.

Serves 4.

The Weeknight Gourmet's 100th Post!

I started this cooking blog one night in late January and really wasn’t sure how it would be received or if I’d enjoy writing it.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the positive reception from my readers and how much I enjoy communicating my culinary adventures.  I love when one of my posts inspires someone to cook a homemade meal.  I love noticing certain trends in what I cook and what ingredients I use.  I always knew I used a lot of garlic but never realized how many of my recipes rely on cumin!  I love checking my blog stats to see which recipes draw the most interest.  Based on my page views, people love curry and turkey burgers.

Most of all, I hope that, in some small way, the recipes I post can help create for others the special moments and conversations I experienced around the dinner table as a child with my mom, dad, and brother and as an adult with Tim, our friends, and extended family.

Here are my top 10 favorite posts (in no particular order). Would love to hear from you — please tell me your favorite recipes that you’ve cooked from the blog!

1) Summer Kickoff BBQ…RIBS

2) The Super Bowl Cake

3) Birthday Dinner for Angus

4) Black Bean Burgers with Guacamole Salad

5) A Must Make Dish: Mahi Mahi in Tomato Olive Sauce

6) My Gastronomical Discoveries in Northern CA

7) First BBQ of the Year: Grilled Herbed Baby Lamb Chops with Asparagus Salad

8) Dinner for Kaylin’s Parents: Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

9) Tribute to Domino

10) Spice Rubbed Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Chipotle Cream

Weeknight Chicken: Hot Pepper Chicken Under a Brick

I couldn’t resist the title — hot pepper chicken — so I decided to make this dish last night.  The chicken was less spicy than I anticipated but it had nice flavor!

This was a very easy dinner to make because after seasoning the chicken and coating with the mustard and red pepper flakes combo, the chicken just cooks on the stove top with no tending required.  I was able to easily make the salad, dressing, and pepper topping for the chicken as the chicken cooked.

I wanted to use bone-in, skin-on breasts because I was afraid boneless, skinless breasts would dry out.  But the store was out of all chicken breasts except boneless skinless.  I cooked them for ~20 minutes (5 minutes less than the recipe states) and they remained moist.

One note on the “under a brick” method of cooking…I did not have a brick handy in our apartment so I just placed a plate on top of the foil and some canned tomatoes on the plate to weigh it down.  This worked well.  But I should warn you to be careful as you lift the plate away — a lot of heat and steam gets trapped under the plate.  Definitely wear oven mitts and lean back a bit.

The sweet dressing for the salad was a nice complement to the spice of the chicken.

Overall a good weeknight meal!

Hot Pepper Chicken Under a Brick

Rachael Ray Magazine

  • 4 large chicken legs and thighs, or 4 chicken breasts
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch arugula or watercress, chopped
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (a generous handful)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped jarred banana pepper rings plus 2 tablespoons of their juice
  • Crusty bread, for mopping

Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. In a small dish, combine 2 tablespoons EVOO, the mustard and the crushed red pepper. Spread the mixture all over the chicken. Place the chicken, meaty side down, in a nonstick skillet. Set a piece of foil loosely over the chicken, then place a plate or smaller pan on top and weight it down with a brick or cans. Cook the chicken over medium heat until cooked through, 25 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, whisk together the vinegar, marmalade and poppy seeds, then stream in the remaining 3 tablespoons EVOO. Toss the tomatoes, cucumber and Arugula with the dressing and season with salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, combine the parsley, banana peppers and pepper juice. Top the chicken with the parsley-pepper mixture and serve with the salad and the bread.

Burgers all'Amatriciana

Taste: ****
Difficulty: Easy
Cleanup: Quick

Tim and I had these tasty burgers on Monday night!  It was a beautiful day and we wanted to put our grill to use.  What better way to use it than to grill burgers!

I saw this burger recipe on the Every Day with Rachael Ray website and I knew I would enjoy a burger that utilizes ingredients from one of my favorite pasta dishes, Bucatini all’Amatriciana.

The burgers were really delicious!  A few notes…I used a touch more pancetta and red onion than the recipe called for.  And, to give the burgers a little of the heat that the pasta dish has, I added some red pepper flakes as the pancetta and onion were cooking.

Definitely don’t skip the roasted tomatoes.  These were delicious and so easy to make.  They provided a great sweetness to the burgers (typically provided by ketchup).

Lastly, I didn’t want to skip the parmesan-covered buns but I always think burger buns are a waste of calories.  So, I was excited my mom discovered Arnold Sandwich Thins – a super thin bun!  All of the bun goodness without a huge amount of bread.

Arnold Select Multigrain Sandwich Thins
Arnold Select Multigrain Sandwich Thins

I served a salad with the burgers.  A delicious start to the week!

Burgers all’Amatriciana
Every Day with Rachael Ray, May 2009

8 plum tomatoes, sliced lengthwise into thirds
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
Salt and pepper
A couple of pinches of sugar
Four 1/8-inch-thick slices pancetta, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground beef sirloin
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)
4 crusty kaiser rolls, split
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
4 leaves romaine lettuce, shredded

Heat the oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, arrange the tomato slices in a single layer and drizzle with EVOO; season with salt, pepper and the sugar. Roast for 30 minutes.

While the tomatoes are roasting, in a large nonstick skillet, cook the pancetta and onion over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool; wipe out the skillet and reserve. Add the beef, garlic and parsley to the pancetta mixture; season with salt and pepper. Form into four 3 1/2-inch-wide patties. When the tomatoes come out of the oven, preheat the broiler, arrange the split rolls cut side up on a baking sheet and toast.

Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, in the reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef patties and cook until browned and crisp on the bottoms, about 5 minutes, then flip and cook for 3 minutes more for medium-rare.

In a small bowl, microwave the butter until melted, about 20 seconds. Brush the butter on the toasted rolls and top with the cheese. Broil for 1 minute.

Top each roll bottom with lettuce, a beef patty, tomatoes and a roll top.

Saltimbocca with Baby Pasta Primavera

Taste: ***
Difficulty: Easy
Cleanup: Moderate

When I found the Shells with Spinach & Ricotta recipe, I also spotted this recipe and decided to make it last night.

At first bite, I thought the meal was too salty. But the salty pork paired with the pasta primavera – sweetened by the peas, carrots, and touch of sugar – was a great combination! Next time, I may skip salting the pork or at least use salt more moderately.

Be sure to use a meat mallet. It will be easier to wrap the proscuitto and will decrease the cooking time.

For the Baby Pasta Primavera, I used orzo because that it what I had in the pantry and it worked well.

One note on Rachael Ray’s 30 minute recipes. I often find she uses several pots and pans which might allow the meal to prepared in 30 minutes but leads to a longer cleanup than I like. This recipe fell into that trap – 2 skillets, 1 large pot, 1 colander, and a cutting board.

But, overall a very tasty meal to close out the week!



Saltimbocca with Baby Pasta Primavera
Every Day with Rachael Ray, May 2009

* Salt and pepper
* 1 cup acini di pepe or orzo pasta
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts chopped separately
* 1 cup frozen peas
* 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
* 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into twelve 3/4-inch-thick slices
* 12 fresh sage leaves
* 6 slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
* 1 clove garlic, crushed
* 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)
* Juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain through a fine-mesh strainer and return to the pot.

2. While the pasta is working, in a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the carrots and sugar; season with salt. Partially cover the pan; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the scallion whites, season with pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the scallion greens and peas and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable mixture and cheese to the pasta and tos.

3. On a work surface, pound the pork slices thin; season both sides with salt and pepper. Top each pork slice with a sage leaf and wrap a prosciutto piece around each. In a large skillet, heat the EVOO and the garlic over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, add the pork and cook until brown, 2 minutes on each side, transferring the cooked meat to a platter.

4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet; cook until brown, 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice, then pour the pan sauce over the pork. Serve with the pasta.

Serves 4.

Dinner after the redeye? Spinach & ricotta with shells

Taste: ***
Difficulty: Easy
Cleanup: Quick

Cooking dinner after a sleepless night on the redeye home from San Francisco?  Not on the top on my list but we’re working from our house in the Berkshires where take out and delivery are not options.

So, I turned to Rachael Ray – “The Queen of 30 Minute Meals” – to figure what could I made quickly with as little prep work as possible.  I found this vegetarian recipe in the most recent issue, and I already had several of the ingredients — a container of ricotta and some parmesan.

All I needed to do was boil water, chop an onion and a clove of garlic, and open a couple of bags of baby spinach.

I used part-skim ricotta because that was what we had on hand.  I think fresh ricotta would be amazing but it can be hard to find.  Whole Foods typically has it.  And, Dearborn Farms, the wonderful farm market in Holmdel, NJ — where I grew up — always had it.

The pasta dish was quite good – with some sweetness from the onions and ricotta and some savoriness from the parmesan.  Tim and I both love spinach so it was a hit!  Leftovers might be my lunch today.


Spinach and Ricotta with Shells
Every Day with Rachael Ray, May 2009

  • 1 pound small pasta shells, such as conchiglie
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese, preferably fresh
  • 3/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach by the handful and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the spinach mixture, ricotta and ¾ cup parmigiano-reggiano to the pasta and toss. Serve immediately with more parmigiano-reggiano.

The $10 Challenge: Chipotle Pork Quesadillas

I saw this recipe in the Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine.  It was featured in the $10 Spot — recipes that should only cost $10.  I’ve always thought these articles are a little aggressive in their pricing so I decided to see how much this recipe would cost at my local store.

The ingredients cost $15.10.  I already had the cilantro and cumin at home so this would have likely been a $20 meal at the Greenwich Village D’Agostino.  Here’s a breakdown of the bill:


But I really can’t complain — there was a lot of flavor packed into this budget-conscious meal!

Only a couple of modifications to this recipe: I used a whole onion, a little more than one chipotle pepper plus 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce, and — rather than a block of Monterey Jack which would have definitely increased the budget — I bought a pre-shredded Mexican cheese blend.

I served the quesadillas with refried black beans, sliced avocado, and salsa verde (which put my final grocery bill at $20). The quesadillas were super flavorful, very easy to make, and a much healthier alternative to take-out Mexican!

Chipotle Pork Quesadillas
Every Day with Rachael Ray, March 2009

  • 2 boneless pork chops (about ¾ pound)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro,plus leaves for garnish
  • 8 medium flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until browned, 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool; cut into thin strips.

In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, the garlic, chipotle and cumin and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes; stir in the pork and chopped cilantro.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush one side of each tortilla with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Working in batches, cook the tortillas oiled side down until grill marks form, 1 to 2 minutes.

Arrange 4 tortillas grilled side down on a baking sheet. Divide the pork mixture among the tortillas and sprinkle with the cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas, grilled side up. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

Cut into wedges and top with the cilantro leaves.

Serves 4