Sausage and Shrimp Cioppino

My requirements for dinner tonight were as follows: red wine and soup. Many soups are immediately out of the running with the red wine requirement. I hit the internet looking for a rustic Italian soup and found this recipe. It was exactly what I was looking for in that it was different, and would pair well with zinfandel. I found the recipe on the Foodnetwork by Giada De Laurentiis.

Some notes about the recipe that I did a little differently. I couldn’t find turkey sausage (bummer) so I used regular Italian sausage that wasn’t in casings. I added red chili flakes to make up for it not being spicy. I used more garlic than it called for and I used imported tomato paste in a tube. This in itself had more depth and flavor than the traditional small cans I grew up with and have always used. I’m a convert to the imported tomato paste in a tube. Last note, I’ve never made a recipe that had two cups of wine in it however, it won’t be the last as it created a lot of incredible flavor with the other ingredients.

A crusty loaf of bread and the zin made for a terrific, “I’m so full but want a little more” dinner. I loved the fennel in it. Delicious and easy to make. This came together pretty quickly so it would make for an easy week night dinner also.

Sausage and Shrimp Cioppino


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
2 cups white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves


  1. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the fennel, garlic, shallots, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the sausage and break into 1/2-inch pieces with a wooden spoon.
  5. Cook until brown, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add wine and scrape the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  7. Stir in the tomato paste, chicken broth, and bay leaf.
  8. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. Uncover the pan and add the shrimp, beans, basil, and thyme.
  10. Simmer, uncovered, until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  11. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
  12. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  13. Ladle the cioppino into soup bowls and serve with crusty bread.



Crisp Cauliflower Fritters

I saw this recipe while flipping through my Cooking Light magazines and couldn’t wait to try it. I used fresh cauliflower instead of the steam bag but followed the rest of the recipe pretty closely. One addition I made for styling, adding dill for the picture, had me running out to my garden to pick more. It really was a nice addition and I pinched a bunch more over the fritters. I had a number of veggies in the fridge that I roasted with some salt and pepper and olive oil and had that on the side. Yum.


Crisp Cauliflower Fritters Recipe

Terrific, easy recipe that I’ll definitely make again.


1 (10-ounce) package steam-in-bag fresh cauliflower florets or 1 head of cauliflower, trimmed
1/2 cup chopped onion – I used  little more
2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3/4 cup refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes
2 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons minced green onions
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise


  1. Steam cauliflower until tender (or prepare cauliflower according to directions if you’re using a steam in bag).
  2. Place in a bowl; mash with a potato masher.
  3. Stir in onion, flour, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, rind, potatoes, cheese, and eggs.
  4. Form into 8 patties.
  5. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Add oil; swirl.
  7. Cook patties 4 minutes on each side.
  8. Combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, yogurt, and remaining ingredients.
  9. Serve sauce with fritters.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 2 fritters and 1 tablespoon sauce)

Nutritional Information:
Calories 212
Fat 11.9 g
Satfat 3.9 g
Monofat 3.8 g
Polyfat 1.6 g
Protein 10.9 g
Carbohydrate 16.7 g
Fiber 2.9 g
Cholesterol 109 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Sodium 521 mg
Calcium 156 mg

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Spinach Pesto

I’ve made this twice and it was delicious both times. The recipe is from Cooking Light, January/February 2013. It’s a cheat since you’re using wonton wrappers instead of making pasta but the texture of the wrappers is different and fun and the flavors work so well together, you don’t miss the pasta. It pairs so nicely with a Marlborough region Sauvignon Blanc.

1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2.5 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
36 wonton wrappers
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped, and divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons organic vegetable broth
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
6 quarts water


  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Place squash halves, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  3. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until tender.
  4. Cool. Scoop out pulp; discard peel. Mash pulp.
  5. Combine oregano, squash pulp, and butter in a large bowl.
  6. Stir in 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  7. Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to keep them from drying), spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons squash mixture into center of each wrapper.
  8. Moisten edges of wrapper with beaten egg; bring 2 opposite corners together. Pinch edges together to seal, forming a triangle.
  9. Repeat procedure with remaining wrappers, squash mixture, and egg.
  10. Cover ravioli loosely with a towel to prevent drying.
  11. Place garlic in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.
  12. Add remaining 1/2 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) cheese, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, spinach, basil, and 2 tablespoons walnuts.
  13. With processor on, slowly pour oil, broth, and juice through food chute. Process until well blended.
  14. Place pesto in a large bowl.
  15. Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a large Dutch oven.
  16. Add half of ravioli; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
  17. Remove ravioli with a slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining ravioli.
  18. Add ravioli to pesto; toss gently to coat.
  19. Arrange 6 ravioli on each of 6 plates; sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon walnuts.

Serving: 6 ravioli and 1 teaspoon walnuts

Nutritional Information:
Calories 344
Fat 15.7 g
Satfat 5.2 g
Monofat 5.8 g
Polyfat 3.5 g
Protein 11.1 g
Carbohydrate 41.8 g
Fiber 3.6 g
Cholesterol 57 mg
Iron 3 mg
Sodium 586 mg
Calcium 189 mg

Original post February 1, 2015

Creamy Chicken Pasta

The title of this dish should be “Marscapone Creamy Wild Mushroom and Chicken Pasta”. Doesn’t that sound more interesting?

This is from Cooking Light, January 2013. I didn’t get a picture of it but I wanted to add it to my blog because I’ll be making it again for sure. It was incredibly tasty…like lick your dish good.

I didn’t have orecchiette pasta so I used shells. I think it would be good with any pasta. Last note, I could have had this without the chicken and been just as satisfied with the dish. The magic is in the sauce.

  • 9 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson), divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 8 ounces chopped wild mushroom blend
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
  5. Combine 1/4 cup stock and flour.
  6. Add flour mixture, 3/4 cup stock, and half-and-half to pan; bring to a boil.
  7. Cook 2 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, mascarpone, and 2 tablespoons parsley.
  9. Heat a skillet over medium heat; coat with cooking spray.
  10. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes.
  11. Add thyme and mushrooms; cook 8 minutes.
  12. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, vinegar, and mustard; cook 30 seconds.
  13. Add pasta and chicken mixture; toss.
  14. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons parsley.

Serves 6
Serving Size: 1-1/3 cups
Nutritional Information:

  • Calories 364
  • Fat 14.3 g
  • Satfat 7.1 g
  • Monofat 3.5 g
  • Polyfat 0.5 g
  • Protein 23.2 g
  • Carbohydrate 36.3 g
  • Fiber 2.3 g
  • Cholesterol 67 mg
  • Iron 2.4 mg
  • Sodium 336 mg
  • Calcium 67 mg

Herb Custed Chicken and Parsley Orzo

Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2011…This is the second time around on this recipe and it’s blog worthy as it’s a great, easy chicken dinner. For the herbs I used herbs de provence, oregano, thyme and sage. As you can see, I also served some french green beans. I flashed steamed them with a little lemon zest.

The chicken had amazing flavor, range free and local. (I love that our market carries local meats).


Herb Crusted Chicken and Parsley Orzo

3/4 cup uncooked orzo
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 teaspoons dried fines herbes
1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Stir in parsley, 2 teaspoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Keep warm.
  2. While pasta cooks, sprinkle chicken with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper; sprinkle fines herbes over both sides of chicken, pressing gently to adhere.
  3. Melt remaining 4 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; cook 7 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand for 3 minutes. Serve chicken over orzo mixture.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast half and 1/2 cup orzo mixture).

Nutritional Information

Calories 342
Fat 11.4 g
Satfat 5 g
Monofat 4.3 g
Polyfat 0.9 g
Protein 33.9 g
Carbohydrate 24.4 g
Fiber 2.6 g
Cholesterol 89 mg
Iron 2.6 mg
Sodium 428 mg
Calcium 96 mg

Original post January 11, 2015

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

From Cooking Light – December 2008

Funny story – I went to the Asian food market to get some of the ingredients for this soup. The noodle isle is daunting. I’m asking everyone – “is this noodle for pad thai” because I can’t read the language. After about 10 minutes of picking packages up, I finally went to the front and asked for assistance. “Where can I find Pad Thai noodles in the noodle isle?” to which she pointed (to the noodle isle) and said, “Pad Thai noodle rice noodle, right there.” I said, “oh, ok. thanks so much.” and resumed my search. It was hysterically funny to me however, knowing that it was a rice noodle helped.

This soup is amazing. A few things I changed. We don’t care for the fish sauce too much so instead of 2 tablespoons, I use about 1 teaspoon or so. I didn’t use the chili’s at the end of the recipe so I added about 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red peppers and reduced the sugar since it wasn’t overly hot.

Wine pairing…amazing. I got Dr. Loosen 2013 Riesling (91 pts). It’s really terrific with this soup. This is a keeper – something I’d make for company. It was so, so good.


Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

4 cups water
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
1 (5 3/4-ounce) package pad thai noodles (wide rice stick noodles)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 small hot red chiles, seeded and chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
7 lime wedges

  1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add spinach and peas to pan; cook for 30 seconds. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Add noodles to pan; cook 3 minutes. Drain; add noodles to spinach mixture in bowl.
  2. Heat canola oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and the next 5 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken, onions, sugar, and fish sauce to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Pour chicken mixture over noodle mixture in bowl. Stir in cilantro and chiles. Serve with lime wedges.

Nutritional Information
Calories 315
Caloriesfromfat 22 %
Fat 7.8 g
Satfat 3.7 g
Monofat 2.2 g
Polyfat 1.3 g
Protein 29.3 g
Carbohydrate 30.9 g
Fiber 2.4 g
Cholesterol 62 mg
Iron 3.2 mg
Sodium 841 mg
Calcium 78 mg

Buttermilk Bran Muffins

This is a staple…one of my family’s favorites. I’ve made them more times than I can count and have a friend asking me for the recipe so I thought I’d put it here. It’s also good because I keep misplacing the recipe.

I always double the recipe and freeze them individually. They keep really well — you can warm them in the microwa
1 cup wheat bran
2/3 cup all purpose flour, level measuring cup
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Sugar in the Raw (or any natural sugar)
1/4 cup organic apple sauce, unsweetened (or any that you like – I sometimes use a spicy applesauce for more flavor)
1 egg
1-1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350.
2.Lightly spray twelve 2-1/4 x 1-1/2 inch nonstick muffin cups with oil. (I use TJ’s Canola Oil spray).
3.In a medium bowl, whisk the bran, flours, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.
4.In another medium bowl, beat the buttermilk, sugar, applesauce, egg, oil and vanilla until frothy, using a handheld electric mixer at high speed. About 2 minutes.
5.Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture.
6.Using a spoon, still just until combined. Do not over-mix.
7.Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cups.
8.Bake until the tops spring back when pressed gently in the center, about 20 minutes. (These are done for me in 17 minutes.) Do not over-bake.
9.Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the cups.
10.Serve warm or cool completely on the rack.

I got this recipe years ago from Weight Watchers. I don’t have the nutritional info but each muffin is 2 weight watcher or let them defrost on their own. It’s a great breakfast on the go.

Original post November 2, 2014