Turkey and Artichoke Puttanesca

It’s still a cold one here on the east coast and we still have snow on the ground. It was a chilly, rainy day today and I wanted something warming to the soul, yet a little spicy and deeply satisfying. And I also want to do a little bit of spring cleaning, starting with the freezer. And that bag of artichokes has been staring at me for quite a while. And they always feel like spring to me. A girl can be hopeful right? Lol. This makes a juicy potful of goodness that’s great topped on a pile of rice, broken noodles, or even mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

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  • 1 1/4 pound turkey cutlets, cut into strips
  • 1 14oz. bag of frozen artichokes, defrosted and squeezed dry if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, ripped in half
  • 2 1/2 cups good quality puttanesca sauce (a 24 oz. jar)

In a heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter over low heat until bubbling add turkey and saute for about 10 minutes or so. Add tomato sauce, artichokes and olives and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until turkey is cooked through. Serves about 4.

DSC05634I just love the rustic-fanciness of this dish! It’s so tasty too!

Make someone happy tonight! ;)

Broken Noodles with a Creamy Poppy Seed & Shrimp Sauce

The first time I made this was Christmas eve and I thought to myself, this would be great for Valentine’s day. At the time, it felt so far away but here it is already! This is a nice dish to make for your love, as it’s extra special, doesn’t take long and is just so tasty! This is nice served on one plate, to share. It’s going to be a cold one on the east coast, so if you want to stay in, this is a nice dish to make. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • 6 lasagna noodles, broken
  • 10 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 cup good marinara sauce
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Bring the water to a boil and add in the noodles. On high heat, bring the marinara sauce to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and add in the shrimp, until they are cooked through and opaque, about 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and poppy seeds until heated through. Pour the sauce over the noodles, sprinkle with poppy seeds and enjoy! Serves 2 lovebirds.

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Simple Tomato & Feta Salad

It’s the simple things in life that can put a smile on my face, a sunny day, a pile of pumpkins sitting on a front porch, a cola in the afternoon, (I know, I know) a spoonful of Nutella before bed (I know, I know…trust me, I know, lol), the last bits of tomatoes from a garden…I took a small trek to the local general store by me, (to burn of the cola and Nutella) and found a sweet pile of garden grown cherry tomatoes, waiting just for me. The woman at the counter put the tomatoes in their container into a brown paper bag and I dug my hand inside to give her back the container, so she could reuse it. She said, “Oh…I don’t think I’m gonna be needing it, I don’t think there are too many tomatoes left…”

Ohh..the bittersweet end of summer…

I came home, to rip open the bag and make this simple tomato and Feta cheese salad. It’s so rich and indulgent, it can also be used as a condiment, topping grilled chicken, eggplant or steak. Enjoy!

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  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 2×3 inch square good Feta cheese (made from sheep and/or goat) crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

Combine everything and serve. Serves 3-4.

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Tomato & Chickpea Salad

The end of summer always makes me sad and I try to let it linger as long as I can, walking past the pile of pumpkins as quickly as I can. And I don’t dare give the mums a second glance. I’m always in denial this time of year. The scent of cinnamon pine cones are inviting but I press onto the pile of end-of-summer tomatoes; slightly green and cracked. It brings me to a happy place, letting summer smile a little longer. The best part of this salad is its’ ease; no cooking required. You can serve this with grilled chicken or fish for a main meal or with a green salad on the side for a light lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

  • A couple of handfuls of tomatoes, roughly chopped to the size of the chickpeas
  • 1 1lb & 13oz. can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 4 kirby cucumbers peeled, quartered and sliced
  • 1/3 cup Castelvetrano olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon preserved Meyer lemon
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt if needed

Combine all of the ingredients and serve at room temperature. The amount of tomatoes in this recipe is up to you but with juicy, ripe tomatoes, the more the better. Serves about 4-6.

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Super Garlicky Turkey Puttanesca

Don’t plan to make this on a make-out night with your love, unless you are both garlic lovers. This sauce is full of garlic cloves, super spicy and has a fiery effect, that is almost sexy. Using a good jarred marinara sauce saves on time and has dinner on the table in less than an hour. Pair with a nice Riesling and enjoy!

  • 1 pound turkey breast cutlets, cut into bite size pieces
  • 10 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • (1) 26. oz. jar good marinara sauce
  • 20 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved lengthwise
  • a tablespoons of capers, quickly rinsed
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • generous sprinkling of red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt

Start off by combining the garlic slices and olive oil in a large Dutch oven, heat on low for about 7 minutes, until they are softened a bit. Stirring often is key and keeping an eye on the garlic so it doesn’t even begin to brown is really important to a good sauce. Remove the garlic and any garlic bits and set aside. Into the remaining oil, add in the turkey (patted dry) and saute for about 5 minutes on low heat. (You don’t want it to brown, so it really absorbs all of the rich flavors.) Add in the garlic, olives, capers, chili flakes, marinara sauce, Sriracha sauce, bay leaf and black pepper. Give it a good stir and increase the heat until it boils. Once it boils, lower the heat on the lowest setting and simmer for half an hour, stirring often so it doesn’t stick. Season with sea salt if needed. Start the meal off with a chunky green salad and pair the turkey puttanesca with ziti, pan-fried potatoes, rice or a creamy polenta. Makes 4 servings and this is great heated up as leftovers.

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Tripe in Tomato Sauce

Soft, tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious…I know it sounds like I’m talking about maybe a fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies but I’m talking about tripe. Tripe, the word either puts a smile on your face or a grimace. It usually does both for me, a smile because I really like tripe. I loved when my mom used to make it. She usually made it on a Saturday or Sunday and it took all day. I loved the warmth coming out of the kitchen. And the grimace on my face is from the smell, it’s not very pleasant and it takes hours to cook. Hours. But it’s all worth it. So when I do make tripe, which isn’t too often, I cook up a large batch and make different recipes with it, last year, I shared a recipe for Chicken & Tripe Stew, so very good. This one is simple and is nice paired with porcini scented rice. Enjoy!

  • 2 pounds tripe, cooked until tender
  • (1) 28 oz. can crushed tomato sauce
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • a small handful of dried mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/2  a porcini mushroom bouillon cube
  • a few basil leaves, minced
  • sea salt if needed

To make your tripe tender, you have to cook it for about 3-4 hours, until you can easily pierce them with a fork. (I did have one rare occasion that they were tender in two hours, so keep an eye on them.) With it still warm enough to be outside, I cooked a big pot of tripe on the range attached to the stove, out on the deck, sparing the house of the smell. Cover the tripe with enough water and bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until fork tender. Once cool enough to handle, cut into strips, about 2 inches in length and set aside. You can always cook the tripe one day and the following day make this recipe. To make your tripe in tomato sauce, combine the oil, onions and garlic in a heavy bottomed pot, until translucent. Next, add in the tripe, mushrooms, bouillon cube, tomatoes and basil, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat on the lowest setting, simmering for 2 more hours, stirring often. Season with sea salt if needed and garnish with fresh basil, serves 4-6.

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Buttery Strascinati & Fava Beans with Tomatoes

As crazy as it may sound, I was in the mood to make a pasta dish over the weekend in this heatwave we are having. It sat on the stove, I enjoyed a little and then put it in the fridge and forgot about it until about midnight…(I know, is that the worst for a dieter? Let’s not forget the pasta. What was I thinking? I can just give pasta a glance and gain a pound. I had a costly, momentary lapse and was only thinking of having something delicious to eat.) And it was cold, refreshing with lemon flavor and dee-licious…The perfect thing to enjoy at midnight during a heatwave. Enjoy!

  • 1/2 pound strascinati, cooked al dente
  • 3/4 pound fresh fava beans in the pods, or about 3/4 cup shelled
  • 5 small Campari tomatoes, quartered and sliced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • heaping teaspoon lemon thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt

Bring a potful of water to a boil. In the meantime, cut the fava beans in half. Blanch the beans for about 2-3 minutes, until the outer shell separates from the inner beans. Drain and allow to cool until you are able to handle them. Discard the outer shell and set aside the inner beans.

In a saucepan, combine the butter and olive oil on low to medium heat until melted. Add in the tomatoes and the lemon thyme leaves. Saute for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally. Add in the lemon juice and sea salt, cooking for about a minute or two more. Toss in the strascinati and the fava beans until warmed through. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Garnish with fresh lemon thyme leaves and a drizzle of olive oil when serving, along with a lemon wedge. Serves 2.

Marinara Smothered Porterhouse Steak

Yes, I feel guilty…but I’m sharing the recipe anyway, it was delicious, the deep, nutty saltiness of the cheese combined with the marinara sauce that’s infused with a little extra meaty flavor…It was like an extra amplified meatball without all the fillers, lol. Enjoy!

  • (1) 8oz. thin sliced porterhouse steak
  • 3/4 cup good marinara sauce
  • good Parmesan Reggiano cheese, a little grated and some thinly sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper

Pour the marinara sauce into a heavy bottomed pan that has a tight fitting lid. Place the steak on top of the sauce and cover. Bring to a simmer on high heat. Once it’s bubbling away, lower the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, using the 5 minute mark as a guide for a well-done steak. Allow the steak to rest for a few minutes. Place your steak on the plate with a nice amount of sauce on it, placing the extra sauce on the side. (This is especially great to top a pasta or potato side dish.) Sprinkle the cheese and arrange the thinly sliced cheese on top of the steak. The thin slices gives it an extra nutty and salty flavor. Grind a little fresh pepper over the steak and the sauce. Serves 1 or 2 to share, as a light meal.

Cod with Tomatoes, Shallot & Olives

This is my favorite way to make cod. The sweetness of the tomatoes and the salty depth of the olives makes this fish dish extra special and it’s on the table in no time. This dish is really simple, so fresh ingredients make a difference in flavor. If you have an olive bar in your supermarket, grab a handful for this dish, it just makes this so much better and grab a few extra so you have something to munch on while you cook. ;) Combine this with a quick brown rice and quinoa pilaf or orzo to complete the meal. You want a side dish that will help you along with enjoying all of the tasty pan juices. Worst case scenario: just get a hunk of bread and really enjoy! Serve with lemon wedges on the side, if you like. Enjoy!

  • 1 pound cod, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sliced thinly shallot
  • 4 Campari tomatoes, halved and sliced
  • about 10 oil cured olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • handful of pale celery leaves, chopped
  • sea salt (obsessed with pink Himalayan salt right now.)

In a large heavy bottomed pan, combine the olive oil and the shallots and a light sprinkling of salt. Saute on low heat until the shallots are transparent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the tomatoes and saute for another 5 minutes until the tomatoes soften and release some of their juices, stirring occasionally. Toss in the olives midway and give it a good stir. Next, nestle in the cod pieces into the shallot, tomato and olive mixture, placing the thicker pieces in the hottest part of the pan. Cover and saute for about 3 minutes then turn over and saute another 3 minutes, until the fish pieces flake. Top with the celery leaves and cover, let sit for a minute or so and serve. Serves 4.

Potato Gnocchi with a Tomato, Pumpkin & Mushroom Sauce

Potato gnocchi have my heart, always. On a chilly, rainy and foggy autumn night,  potato gnocchi can put a smile the face and warm the belly, like nothing else. I found these dried wood ear mushrooms at a health food store and I couldn’t leave without them, I had to give them a try and thought they would look great on a plate during Halloween…on a dark and creepy night…Muuwaaahhaaa…( couldn’t resist. lol)

  • 1 pound potato gnocchi
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 4 tablespoons good marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light cream
  • 1 sage leaf
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dried wood ear mushrooms *
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sea salt
  • Parmesan cheese *optional

           *You can use any dried mushrooms you like, if they are larger, just chop them down to size.

First begin by rehydrating your mushrooms, according to the package instructions, about 30 minutes in hot water, until the mushrooms get soft. Just add enough water to cover them by about an inch. Cook your gnocchi according to the package instructions, about 2-3 minutes, until they float, drain and set aside. Into the same pot, melt the butter and add the pumpkin puree, marinara sauce, cream and sage. Simmer for about 5 minutes and add the mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of the mushroom liquid and the gnocchi, until heated through. Pass around a wedge of Parmesan cheese, so everyone can help themselves. Serves 2-4. If serving 4, round out the meal with a soup and salad, I don’t know about you, but gnochhi are addicting and a nice big bowl makes a rainy and chilly night, all the warmer. Enjoy!