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  1. Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    Simple Cream Sauce for Pasta

    When we lived in Boston, there was a small Italian restaurant in the North End that I loved to go to (no idea what it’s called, unfortunately). I often would order their penne in cream sauce with broccoli and chicken. It was simple and oh so delicious. I’ve been having a hankering for this dish, so I tried throwing it together myself this week.

    how to make perfect cream sauce for pasta from @janemaynard

    The results were yummy. It’s still not like what I ate in the North End, but this is a delicious recipe nonetheless. Plus, the cream sauce is nice and neutral, so you can really take this dish wherever you want it to got…chicken, pancetta, your favorite veggie, mushrooms…go crazy! I personally really like the simplicity of steamed broccoli and grilled chicken.

    Simple Cream Sauce for Pasta
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup white wine
    • ~ 2 cups cream
    • Half of a small onion, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • tablespoon or so of oil
    • fresh, shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, then add white wine and simmer until wine reduces to about about half. Add cream and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid scorching the bottom. Salt and pepper to taste. The sauce will remain pretty thin, which is fine for when you mix it with the pasta later. If you really feel like thickening it up, you could add a bit of flour, but I would resist doing this since the sauce will thicken as it cools on your plate.
    2. Mix with one package of cooked pasta of your choice and whatever toppings you desire. If you want it a little "saucier" don't use quite the whole package of pasta. I love this with steamed broccoli and grilled chicken breast mixed in. I also like to toss in a handful of fresh, shredded parmesan cheese at the end, stirred into the pasta.


  2. Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Deeeeelicious Lasagna Recipe

    One of the meals that was brought to us recently was a lasagna made by my friend Michele. I think lasagna is a great meal to take to people who have just had a baby. You can cook it in a disposable container, it can easily be made with or without meat depending on the family, and it makes a ton of food. We received a lasagna when we had Cate years ago and ended up wrapping individual servings for the freezer, leaving us with several meals that we could spread out over time. Of course, that’s what I did this time around as well. It’s so helpful!

    And when the lasagna is AWESOME it’s even better. Michele used a recipe from Ina Garten, who we all know will never let you down! If you’re looking for a good lasagna recipe, this is it.

    Deeeeelicious Lasagna Recipe
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Pasta
    Ingredients
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1½ pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
    • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
    • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
    • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • ½ pound lasagna noodles
    • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
    • 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
    • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus ¼ cup for sprinkling
    • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
    Instructions
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1½ teaspoons of the salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
    3. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
    4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
    5. Ladle ⅓ of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one ⅓ of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

     


  3. Friday, September 9, 2011

    Little Man Baby Shower…and DELICIOUS Recipes

    On Tuesday night my friends threw me a baby shower. Even though I told them not to. Because it’s my third child. But they insisted. Because we’re having a boy and we need boy things (which is true). And because they are great friends. And, I must admit, I’m so happy I gave into their shower entreaties. The party was beyond adorable, the food was amazing, and, most importantly, I got to spend an evening with a beautiful group of women I am so grateful to know and count as friends.

    But enough with the sappy stuff. I have to show you how ridiculously cute this shower was. I actually don’t have tons of pictures because it was dark, so they do not convey the total cuteness that was the shower. But believe me, everything looked fabulous.

    There were moustaches and bow ties all over the place.

    And the food. Ah, the food. Again, no great photos, but believe me when I tell you it was all beautiful and tasted even better than it looked.

    The inspiration for the Little Man Shower came from this blog post on ReMarkable Home. (If you click through, you can get the templates for everything and see how to put it all together!) Our friend Courtney discovered the post and shared it with my friend Natalee, who spearheaded my shower. Courtney is good at finding great stuff online. The girl has 53 boards on Pinterest, for Pete’s sake.

    Thank you to my wonderful friends Wendy, Amy, Mindy, Sarah, Natalee and Ana (and Angie, not pictured, who did the flowers). You ladies orchestrated an evening I will never forget and helped welcome Baby Boy Maynard into the world with style!

    Click more to see some fabulous recipes from the shower!

    (>> Find out more…)


  4. Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    On Top of Spaghetti

    Our girls love spaghetti and meatballs. In fact, if there is ground beef in a dish and we tell them it’s meatballs, they’ll eat it. So, instead of doing a meat sauce for our spaghetti last night, I decided to spend a few extra minutes and make some actual meatballs for my cuties. And they were delighted. They barely ate the spaghetti, which normally disappears within minutes!

    When Nate came home and started eating, I of course immediately pestered him with, “How are the meatballs?” He told me, “They’re really good! What kind of meat did you use?” I told him just ground beef and he was shocked! Nate was certain I must have used more than one kind of meat because the flavor was so good. Meatball success!

    So, here’s what I did. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s tasty.

    On Top of Spaghetti
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 lb ground beef (I used 85/15 this time around)
    • ½ cup bread crumbs
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • ½ teaspoon basil
    • ½ teaspoon oregano
    • ½ teaspoon parsley
    • ½ teaspoon dried diced onions
    • 1 fresh garlic clove, minced or pushed through a garlic press
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 4-5 cups prepared tomato sauce (homemade or jarred)
    • 1 package spaghetti
    Instructions
    1. Mix all ingredients (except tomato sauce and spaghetti) together by hand. Form into 1”³ – 1-1/2”³ balls (I think mine were closer to 1-1/2”³ and I ended up with 38 meatballs).
    2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Brown meatballs in oil, constantly rotating, until all sides are browned. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomato sauce. Simmer for 15-20 minutes (make sure heat is high enough so sauce is simmering). While meatballs are simmering, prepare spaghetti according to package instructions. Serve sauce and meatballs over spaghetti. And be sure not to sneeze”¦those meatballs have been known to roll off the table and onto the floor.


  5. Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Blackened Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

    Before we get to today’s recipe (which is mighty tasty, by the way), I have to share something with you. If you just so happen to get this magazine in the mail or see it on the newsstand…

    …be sure to check out page 90.

    All I have to say is, “Woooooo Hoooooo!” I know. Very eloquent and oh so very Martha. But seriously, I still can’t believe my name, blog, photos and recipe are printed on the pages of a Martha Stewart Living magazine. I’m downright giddy.

    Okay, enough squealing from Jane. Thanks for indulging me. On to the real reason we’re here!

    In the not-so-distant past, I was pretty much scared of spicy food. I could barely handle medium salsa, folks. Yes, I was a wimp. Then Nate and I discovered a fabulous Caribbean take-out restaurant in Menlo Park with jerk chicken that is to die for. The chicken is coated in the most delicious but super spicy jerk sauce. The only way I could eat that chicken was if I got tough and faced the heat head on. And I did just that. Not only is that now one of my favorite dishes, but I am in love with spicy food. Bring it on!

    This year I have the opportunity to participate in a Newman’s Own “Own It” campaign with Martha’s Circle. The challenge is to take recipes and make them your own through simple flavor changes. For my first recipe, I was asked to incorporate one of the Newman’s Own sauces into my dish. I started browsing through their sauces and the Alfredo caught my eye. Alfredo is most often simply paired with fettuccine and, if things get really crazy, chicken. It’s a traditional favorite that seemed to be screaming for a new twist. With my newfound love of heat, I decided to kick up the spice factor a notch…or twenty.

    Blackened chicken seemed like a fun and unique twist to the classic Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. Can I say how glad I am I gave this a try? This recipe is a keeper! Nate and I both really enjoyed it. The spicy kick of the chicken was such a great counterpoint to the super mellow and rich Alfredo sauce. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to regular old chicken fettuccine alfredo again!

    Blackened Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
     
    Spicy, creamy, and delicious!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry, Pasta
    Cuisine: Italian
    Serves: 4
    Ingredients
    • 9-oz package fresh fettuccine
    • 1 jar Newman’s Own Alfredo Pasta Sauce
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    Instructions
    1. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking pan or dish with cooking oil. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Pound the chicken breast until quite thin (around ¼”³ thick). Mix all of the spice ingredients together thoroughly. Coat both sides of the chicken breasts with the spices.
    3. Heat a non-stick grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken breasts in pan and brown both sides, 45-60 seconds per side. Place chicken in prepared baking pan and bake in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and slice chicken into strips.
    4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return pasta to warm pot over medium-low heat. Pour in alfredo sauce and mix thoroughly.
    5. Serve pasta with sliced chicken served on top. Serves 4.


  6. Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    Creamy Pesto Fettuccine with Mushrooms & Tomatoes

    Last week when I made the Pesto Tortellini Soup I had on my menu, I ended up with 7 ounces minus 1/4 cup of pesto left over. The next night we had Easy Peasy Bean Tacos, which resulted in a half a container of leftover grape tomatoes. The next night (are you liking this painful play-by-play?) I swung by the store on the way home from a playdate and saw a $2 package of fresh fettuccine that inspired me. I grabbed a half pint of cream, a package of sliced mushrooms and went home to throw dinner together as quickly as possible.

    The result was a simple and fast recipe that was molto delicioso. The best part? My girls ate ALL of their dinner and then some. And I have another meatless recipe to add to the arsenal.

    Buon appetito!

    Creamy Pesto Fettuccine with Mushrooms & Tomatoes
     
    Quick, easy, and super yummy!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dishes, Pasta
    Ingredients
    • 9 oz. fresh fettuccine (or whatever past you have on hand)
    • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
    • Couple handfuls of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
    • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced or smashed through a garlic press
    • ½ pint cream
    • Prepared pesto (I used 7 ounces MINUS ¼ cup since the pesto was leftover from the soup recipe, but I think a 7-ounce package will work just fine”¦no need to subtract out that ¼ cup”¦although you could make the Pesto Tortellini Soup the same week to coordinate!)
    • 2 handfuls fresh grated parmesan cheese, plus some for garnish
    • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
    • Olive oil for sautéing
    Instructions
    1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and drizzle with a bit of butter or olive oil to prevent sticking.
    2. While waiting for water to boil for the pasta, start working on the other stuff. Sauté the mushrooms in a tablespoon or two of olive oil until softened. Add garlic and tomatoes and sauté a few minutes more. Add cream, pesto sauce and salt; simmer to reduce until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
    3. Pour sauce over pasta and serve, sprinkled with fresh grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil if you have it.
    4. A few things I think would be good to add, but I haven’t actually tried yet: a shallot sautéed with the mushrooms, spinach, or white beans.

     


  7. Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    My New Fave Go-To Meal: Stuffed Shells

    I’m always on the lookout for easy go-to meals. While I tend to rely on my go-to recipes a little too heavily, eventually making myself totally sick of them, I’m still grateful to have these gems in my arsenal!

    My latest favorite go-to meal is simple stuffed shells. No meat involved, super easy to make, and mighty delicious. It’s a little more effort than throwing together spaghetti, but not much. You just need to think ahead a bit – make sure you have the cheeses on hand, and give yourself time for baking. But, seriously, they’re easy to make. And my girls gobble them up.

    Please feel free to share your own stuffed shells recipe!  Here is how I’ve been making mine lately. Yum.

    great go-to stuffed shells recipe from @janemaynard

    Simple Stuffed Shells
     
    Simple, delicious and reliable go-to recipe for stuffed shells.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Italian
    Ingredients
    • Half box of pasta shells (about 20)
    • 1 container ricotta cheese (I think they’re 16 oz – whatever is at your standard grocery store)
    • A few cloves of garlic, mashed through garlic press
    • About 1 tsp. salt
    • A few shakes of black pepper
    • A few tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    • 1 egg, slightly beaten
    • About half a jar of tomato-based pasta sauce
    • Handful shredded fresh parmesan cheese
    • A few handfuls shredded mozzarella cheese
    Instructions
    1. Boil shells as per package directions. Drain and make sure they don’t stick to each other.
    2. Mix together the ricotta, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and egg.
    3. Stuff your shells, maybe about a tablespoon per shell. Use up all the filling for about 20-24 shells.
    4. Place shells in a 9×13 baking dish, drizzle with pasta sauce (I think I used about half of a jar or so), then sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese.
    5. Bake in 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes or so.


  8. Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Pasta with Peas & Ricotta…and a Giveaway!

    This giveaway is now closed. Winners will be announced on Thursday, 3/18. Keep reading this post, though – the book and the recipe are great!

    The first recipe I made from my new cookbook was a success! The whole family loved this pasta with peas and ricotta last night. Looks yummy, doesn’t it? It was fast and only used one pan, which makes the recipe even better in my book!

    peas ricotta pasta web

    Want to make it yourself? Well, I’ll share the recipe with you at the end of this post…but first you need to enter today’s giveaway! TWO lucky readers will each win a copy of Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast. Big thanks to Everyday Food for a very fab cookbook giveaway!

    Please add a comment to this post by Midnight PT, Wednesday March 17 to enter! Two random winners will be announced March 18. To enter, share your favorite Everyday Food recipe with us (links welcome!) in the comments section…or just comment about anything! (One entry per person and the prize needs to be shipped to a U.S. address.)

    Good luck with the giveaway! Time for the recipe!

    (>> Find out more…)


  9. Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Pasta Primavera from Moosewood

    Have you heard of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks? If you have a vegetarian friend (or you are a vegetarian) who likes to cook, then you probably have. I can’t believe how many vegetarians in the last week have recommended various Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks to me. I think it’s time to go cookbook shopping. (Click here to read more about this interesting restaurant.)

    moosewood restaurant's pasta primavera from @janemaynard

    My friend Nikki made Pasta Primavera for us one night and it was divine. I couldn’t wait to get the recipe and she happily shared. It’s from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook, which she said is her favorite of their books. If you want to buy it, click here.

    Let me warn you, this dish is a labor of love. Chopping all those vegetables takes time…especially if you add  more vegetables than the recipe calls for like I did. But it is an excellent dish, is super healthy, and if you’re only feeding 4 people like me you will have tons of leftovers. Blanching the vegetables as indicated in the recipe makes for perfectly cooked veggies.

    One more quick tip…I had some Tuscan Tomato Soup leftover when I made this pasta. Pouring a bit of that soup over the pasta was oh so good.

    Pasta Primavera from Moosewood
     
    My friend Nikki discovered this fabulous and filling vegetarian recipe and shared it with me. I will be forever grateful to her!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Vegetarian
    Ingredients
    • 6 garlic cloves (Nikki sometimes uses more)
    • 2 tsp olive oil (Nikki sometimes uses more, I think I did more like 2 Tbsp.)
    • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
    • ¼ cup dry white wine
    • ½ – 1 tsp salt (I’ve added this because it definitely need more salt, and if you add at this point with the sauce I think it will diffuse through the ingredients better than seasoning at the end)
    • ½ cup sliced fresh basil leaves (slice them crosswise)
    • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
    • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (Nikki leaves this out, I kept it in)
    • Handful snow peas, cut in half width-wise (Nikki & Jane addition)
    • Handful sugar snap peas, cut in half width-wise (Jane addition)
    • Handful green beans, cut into 2-inch lenth pieces (Nikki and Jane addition)
    • 2 small zucchini, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (Nikki likes summer squash better)
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
    • salt and ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 pound fettuccine or butterfly pasta (farfalle)
    • ¼ cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
    Instructions
    1. Bring a covered pot of water large enough to accommodate a colander or steamer basket to a boil (neither Nikki nor I have one of these setups, so we use a slotted spoon to scoop the veggies out of the hot water when it’s time). Meanwhile, saute the garlic and oil in a saucepan for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and salt and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the basil and red onions, cover, and remove from the heat.
    2. When the water is boiling, blanch the vegetables. (If you prefer to steam the vegetables, allow 3 minutes between each addition of vegetables). Put the carrots in first. After 1 minute, add the asparagus and bell peppers (if doing snow peas, sugar snap peas and/or green beans, toss them in at this point). After another minute, add the zucchini (or summer squash) and peas. Cook for 1 minute more and then lift out the colander and all of the vegetables and set aside to drain. Reserve the pot of boiling water for cooking the pasta. Stir the vegetables into the tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper (if needed). Cover and set aside.
    3. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the reserved cooking water and 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese. Top with the tomato-vegetable sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.

    moosewood pasta primavera2 web


  10. Thursday, April 9, 2009

    Cannelloni

    Cannelloni is one of my favorite things to order at an Italian restaurant.  Which means I had to figure out a way to make it at home, of course!  I gave it a try this week and it was so so yummy.  Here’s what I did!

    Cannelloni
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Pasta
    Cuisine: Italian
    Ingredients
    • FILLING: will fill ~8 cannelloni, maybe up to 10
    • 1 chicken breast, cooked & shredded
    • ¼ C fresh, shredded parmesan cheese
    • 1 C ricotta cheese
    • ½ C shredded mozzarella
    • 1 Egg, beaten
    • 1 garlic clove, minced or use garlic press
    • 1 T chopped fresh basil (maybe a little more than 1 T)
    • ¼ t pepper
    • ½ t salt
    • SAUCE:
    • 1½ C jarred marinara (you could make your own, but this is faster and tasted great)
    • ½ C cream
    • 24 grape tomatoes, smashed up a bit (I pulsed in the blender a few times)
    • ¼ – ½ C shredded asiago cheese
    • SHELLS:
    • Ideally I suppose you make your own pasta, roll it into thin sheets and cut into rectangles. Yeah, THAT’S gonna happen around here”¦.so, I tried two readily-available pastas.
    • Barilla No-Boil Homemade Style (Flat) Lasagna Noodles: These were PERFECT. Boil 3 minutes, CAREFULLY remove from the water (it’s easy to crack them in the middle, so be gentle!). Filling them is a cinch”¦just lay the rectangle out portrait (you know, tall-wise), lay your filling across the noodle near the end, then roll up! (I had a few cracks when I took them out of the water, but the noodle overlaps itself when you roll it up, so it wasn’t a problem) Pictured RIGHT.
    • Manicotti Shells: I also tried manicotti shells. They didn’t taste quite as good, and they’re harder to stuff. So, I will definitely do the flat, no-boil lasagna noodles from now on. Pictured LEFT.
    Instructions
    1. Mix filling ingredients.
    2. Mix sauce ingredients and warm on the stove (doesn’t need to cook too long or get too hot).
    3. Spray a rectangular casserole dish or metal cake pan with spray oil. Stuff cannelloni (see noodle descriptions above). Place stuffed cannelloni in the pan. Cover with sauce.
    4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Mangia!
    Notes
    Makes approximately 8 cannelloni”¦Nate and I each ate 2, and the girls had 1 each. Fed our family of 4 with 2 cannelloni left over.