Saturday, April 30, 2016

Make-Ahead Jar Salads

Get a head start on the new week (and feel so completely organized) by assembling fresh, delicious and good-for-you salads. By taking a little time to slice and dice your veggies this weekend, you can enjoy healthy lunches throughout the week.

Just gather up an assortment of your favorite veggies, start with a couple tablespoons of your favorite dressing on the bottom and begin layering. Be sure to start with some of your more firm ingredients like carrots, radishes and bell pepper. Layer in the rest and add the greens on top. Also, it’s a good idea to place a folded paper towel or napkin on top of the greens before screwing on the lid. This helps to absorb any excess moisture and will help keep your salad fresh. When you’re ready to eat, just be sure to open the jar, remove the paper towel, replace the lid tightly, then shake the jar to distribute the dressing, then pour onto a plate or in a bowl.


Here’s a (short) list of possible ingredients:
Grated carrot
Red cabbage
Green onions
Red onions
Dried cranberries
Kiwi or orange slices
Blueberries or strawberries
Sunflower kernels
Small pasta
Bell pepper
Black olives
Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Ham or turkey, diced
Spring salad mix,
Boiled eggs


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Inspired by Paris

It was our 20th wedding anniversary; December and cold, just one week away from Christmas. My husband was down in the southern part of France, his third trip down there for business and I couldn’t stand the thought of being away from each other for our anniversary. It didn’t take much to persuade me to agree to fly to Paris and meet him.

I didn’t sleep at all during the 13-hour plane ride. Wide-eyed yet sleep deprived, I remember hitting the runway at Charles De Gaulle Airport with a thud, excitement welling up inside of me.

I didn’t care that I barely slept over the next four days – I could do plenty of that once we got back to the states. We took it all in! The Louvre and Napoleon’s Apartments, Mona Lisa, the magnificent Opra where we secretly watched a ballerina during rehearsal, stumbling into Notre Dame during Catholic Mass, climbing up the steep steps inside the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, strolling through morning market and de Champs de Elysees, dinner at the famous Angelina, watching painters working on their canvases in the art district, the string quartets in the underground subways…so many incredible memories. But one of the most amazing and memorable experiences during our time there was spending the day with Chef Eric Fraudeau at Cookin’ with Class.

As an anniversary present, my amazing husband arranged for me to take a cooking class…IN PARIS!!! I still have to pinch myself sometimes.

We met early in the morning with others who’d signed up for the class. Together, we all walked to the market to pick out beautiful, fresh ingredients for our meal. We selected five different varieties of mushrooms – some I haven’t ever seen here in the US. Unfortunately, mushrooms are at the top of my list of things that I just CANNOT eat. No worries - we picked out other items then moved on to the fromagerie where Chef Eric taught us about the various cheeses of the region. We then moved on to the meat and fish markets. So much to see and learn. It was definite sensory overload and it was wonderful!

Together we prepared amazing food and filled the cozy kitchen with delicious aromas of mussels, guinea fowl, simmering white wine, bouquet garni and so much more. My husband arrived with sprinkles of the first few raindrops on his jacket and a bottle of champagne inviting Chef Eric and the rest of the class to celebrate our special day with us.

The moment….that perfect romantic moment…still brings me to tears. I will always cherish the experience, the inspiration and the opportunity to step completely out of my comfort zone and say YES to the unknown. Thank you, Chef Eric, for encouraging and inspiring me to create new and wonderful recipes in my own Joyful Kitchen.

Bon appetit!!!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Zucchini Gratin

The word, "YUM" summarizes this little number. This is a great side dish for any occasion. (Note: I went a little thin on my zucchini slices, so be sure and slice yours about 1/2" thick).

Zucchini Gratin

4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick (you don’t want them too thin)
½ red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 strips of bacon
2 Tbsp. butter
1 can (10 ½ oz.) cream of chicken soup
1 ½ c. milk (I used 2% low fat)
2-3 Tbsp. sour cream
2 heaping Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Vegetable Garden Seasoning
1 c. Mozzarella, grated
1 c. Sharp Cheddar, grated
½ c. Parmesan, grated
1 ½ c. Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a large, heavy skillet, cook bacon until brown. (I used a large 10-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe which made it easier to take it straight from the stovetop to the oven). Remove bacon from pan. Pour out 1/2 of bacon drippings from pan.

Melt 1 Tbsp. of butter to remaining pan drippings. Cook diced onion over medium low heat for about 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add sliced zucchini. Stir and cook 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium sauce pot, combine cream of chicken soup with milk and sour cream. Whisk to fully incorporate ingredients over medium low heat. Add all cheese and stir well until cheese is melted to a smooth consistency.

Sprinkle seasoning mixture evenly over zucchini. Crumble bacon evenly over zucchini.

Pour soup and cheese mixture over zucchini.

Melt remaining Tbsp. of butter in small pan. Add bread crumbs and toss to coat. Cook on low until golden brown and sprinkle evenly over top of zucchini.

Transfer skillet to oven and bake uncovered approximately 30-35 minutes or until zucchini is fork tender. Serve hot.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Delicious and Flavorful Pot Roast

So, I've made this twice! The first time was a couple of weeks ago, and it was literally GONE before I could even get any pictures! Again, this recipe uses several ingredients from Gainey Vineyard, but don't be afraid to improvise and use what you have on hand. The wine and garlic along with the long cooking time make this traditional favorite super tender and wonderful :)

Delicious and Flavorful Pot Roast

1 medium sized beef chuck roast (about 3 lbs).
¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Basil & Garlic Grapeseed Oil
1 c. low-sodium beef broth
1 c. Gainey Vineyard Pinot Noir wine
2 Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Rosemary & Garlic Seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chuck roast in 1 gallon freezer bag and sprinkle with flour. Toss to coat.

In heavy Dutch Oven on stovetop, melt butter over medium heat and add grapeseed oil.

Shake off excess flour from roast and place it in the pot. Brown both sides over medium heat and salt and pepper each side.

When browned on both sides, slowly pour in beef broth and wine. Sprinkle seasoning mix and minced garlic on top of roast. Bring liquid to a boil and let it reduce by ¼.

Remove from heat. Cover and place in preheated oven. Bake for 2 hours or until fork tender.

(Note: I did not add vegetables to this roast, but it’s wonderful with roasted red potatoes and a simple green salad). Enjoy!


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Linguica Roll-Ups

This is one of those recipes I've been cooking all day in my head; sorting out the ingredients, using what I had available and trying to avoid another trip to the store. The result? A great new recipe I'll be making again and again.

Linguica Roll Ups

I full length of Linguica sausage, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, diced
1 c. frozen chopped kale
1-2 tsp. olive oil.
15 oz. ricotta cheese
3/4 c. grated Mozzarella
2 Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Vegetable Garden Seasoning
3/4 c. butter, melted
9 sheets of Phyllo dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brown Linguica in large skillet over medium heat. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat.

Add a little olive oil to pan drippings and saute shallot 2 to 3 minutes.. Add garlic and continue cooking for about a minute more. Don't let garlic burn.

Add kale to the pan making sure to break up any large frozen chunks. Return sausage to the pan and stir well cooking over medium-low heat.

Meanwhile in large bowl, combine ricotta with the Mozzarella. Add the Vegetable Garden Seasoning and mix well.

Add sausage mixture to the cheese mixture and come really well making sure all the ingredients are incorporated.

Remove 1 sheet of Phyllo dough and cover the remaining sheets with a damp dish towel to prevent them from drying out.

You will need 3 sheets of the dough for each roll up (you should end up with 3 full rolls). Lay the first sheet out and use a pastry brush to brush on a thin layer of melted butter. Be sure to cover the entire surface.

Remove a 2nd sheet, lay it on top of the first and do the same making sure to completely brush the surface with melted butter. Repeat this step with the 3rd sheet (be sure to keep the other Phyllo dough covered with a damp towel while you're working).

Beginning at one short end, place about 3 large scoops of sausage/ricotta filling along the edge.

Fold in the long side edges of the dough and begin rolling up from the bottom until you have a long rolls.

Place seam-side down on baking pan (preferably lined with silicone baking mat) and brush the top with melted butter.

Repeat this process until you have 3 long rolls.

Bake approximately 35 minutes or until nicely browned on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting - filling will be hot.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Homemade Granola Bites

So, this is the only known photo of these little granola gems because...happily, they no longer exist, LOL. I mixed up a batch of these on Monday, gave most of them to my husband to share with his co-workers and he brought back an empty container :) Really, you gotta try this healthy, delicious snack. :)

Homemade Granola Bites

1 c. chopped walnuts
½ c. quick oats
¼ c. unsalted (natural) sunflower kernels
½ c. dried cranberries
½ c. chopped pecans
½ c. chopped raw almonds
½ c. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
4-5 Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Cinnamon Honey

Preheat oven to 325°.

In medium bowl, combine first seven ingredients and stir. Pour in honey and mix well (use your hands if necessary).

Spray a silicone mold with cooking spray (I used the one pictured here). Using a small cookie dough scoop, fill each well with the granola mixture. Press evenly.

Place silicone baking pan on top of regular cookie sheet for stability. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bruschetta with Homemade Bread Sticks

This is such a delicious combination of flavors. The crunch of toasted bread beneath melted cheese and the fresh tomato/pesto mixture...oh my gosh. In fact....I made this last weekend. Had it for lunch and kept craving it throughout the day, so I had it again for dinner! :)

Bruschetta with Homemade Bread Sticks
1 ½ c. warm milk
1 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp olive oil plus more for bowl
3 c. all purpose flour plus more for dusting
2 tsp. Gainey Vineyard Rosemary Garlic Seasoning
1 Tbsp. baking powder
In mixer bowl with paddle attachment, whisk warm milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until foamy on top. Add salt and 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine flour, rosemary garlic seasoning and baking powder.
Add flour mixture to yeast mixture ½ cup at a time. Mix until ingredients are fully incorporated. When dough forms and begins to pull away from sides of bowl, turn dough out onto floured surface and knead about ten times.
Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a large bowl. Transfer dough to the large bowl making sure to coat all sides with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
Preheat oven to 375°.
Once dough has risen, turn out onto floured surface and knead a few times. Separate dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each dough piece out to 6-inch long strips. Lay each one on a baking pan preferably lined with silicone baking sheet. Brush each dough length with remaining olive oil. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes or until golden brown on top.
1 prepared breadstick (recipe above)
2 slices of Mozzarella
1 Tbsp. butter
8-10 red grape tomatoes sliced in half
8-10 yellow grape tomatoes sliced in half
1 Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Artichoke Chardonnay Pesto
Olive oil
Slice breadstick in half lengthwise. Drizzle each half with olive oil. Top each breadstick half with Mozzarella and place under the broiler for a few minutes until bread is toasted and cheese is melted and bubbly.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes to the pan. Stir and cook for 5-7 minutes.
At the end of cooking time, add pesto and combine well.
Arrange tomato and pesto mixture on top of toasted breadstick. Serve hot.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Prosciutto Panini

There is SO much flavor in every bite of this panini. I just love this combination of ingredients and textures and I know you will, too :)

Prosciutto Panini
4 slices of Prosciutto (per sandwich)
1 Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Basil, Garlic, Pine Nut Pesto (prepared)
1 ½ Tbsp. Sun-dried tomatoes (julienne cut)
¼ c. fresh Arugula & Spinach mix
1 slice of Provolone cut in half
1 Ciabatta bread or deli roll
Olive oil to brush top of bread
Preheat Panini maker. (If you don’t have a Panini maker available, heat a grill pan on the stove and use a heavy cast iron skillet to press down on bread to give same effect).
Prepare Gainey Vineyard Basil, Garlic, Pine Nut Pesto according to package instructions. Set aside.
Slice Ciabatta or deli roll lengthwise. Place Prosciutto lengthwise on one half. Spread pesto evenly over Prosciutto. Add sun-dried tomatoes over pesto. Add even layer of arugula and spinach leaves. Place both halves of Provolone over leaves. Brush top of bread with olive oil.
Place sandwich in Panini maker and cook until cheese is melted. If using a grill pan, brush the pan with a little olive oil first. Place Panini in center of pan and place a heavy skillet on top. Be sure to turn the sandwich over one time to achieve grill marks on both sides.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Salmon Salad in Red Cabbage Bowls

This recipe combines my love of salmon with one of my favorite colors - looks beautiful nestled in those cabbage bowls :) 

The flavors come alive in this light and delicious recipe. Prettied up in their cabbage leaf bowls makes a pretty presentation for any spring or summertime gathering.

Salmon Salad in Red Cabbage Bowls

3 oz. Smoked Salmon, diced small
5 oz. can pink salmon, drained
½ red onion, diced
1 lg. celery stalk, diced
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
3 Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Lemon Chardonnay Aioli
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. capers
Salt and pepper to taste
1 head of red cabbage
In medium bowl, combine diced onion and celery. Add smoked salmon and canned salmon and mix well.
Add boil eggs, aioli, lemon juice, fresh dill, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine all ingredients. Fold in capers and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel off outer leaves of cabbage. Slice down center of cabbage from the core out. Use one or two leaves to form each bowl.
Use an ice cream scoop to portion out each individual serving.
Note: this salad is great on crackers or on a bed of romaine.

Chicken Penne Soup with Garden Vegetable Seasoning

So, yesterday I shared that I'm creating new recipes using the pantry products from Gainey Vineyard. They have a wide array of seasoning blends; one of which is the Garden Vegetable Seasoning. I love how it naturally enhances the flavors of this soup. Visit their online shop HERE to view all their wonderful products.

Chicken Penne Soup with Garden Vegetable Seasoning

2 chicken breasts, cubed
½ red onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Basil & Garlic Grapeseed Oil
2 15oz. cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes
½ c. mini-penne pasta
2 heaping Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Garden Vegetable Seasoning
2 c. water
Salt and pepper

Heat grapeseed oil in large sauce pan. Add chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until light golden brown on all sides. Remove from pan.

Melt butter in the same pot. Add onion, celery and carrot. Stir and cook until onions become translucent. Add garlic and continue to cook another minute or so.

Return chicken to the pot. Add diced tomatoes and pasta. Sprinkle in garden vegetable seasoning. Pour in both cans of chicken broth and water. Stir and bring to a boil.
Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve hot.