Friday, November 30, 2007

Gnocchi with Bacon and Spinach

A friend wrote about a pasta dish that she got from Giada de Laurentiis when watching the Food Network. That dish was Shells with Crispy Pancetta and Spinach. It sounded really good and easy. I love the combination of bacon and spinach and it seemed like a good one dish meal. So I decided to make a similar dish the day after Thanksgiving when my Mom and sister were visiting.

I didn't have pasta shells, only gnocchi and I had bought bacon rather than pancetta. The original recipe called for a lot of asiago cheese, instead I used a quattro fromaggio mix from Trader Joe's which my friend also used in her dish. I used half and half instead of cream though next time, I think I will try it with milk. I also forgot to put the nutmeg in the spinach mixture so I added it to the sauce instead and it tasted fine.

I forgot to take a picture until after we had finished dinner so the picture is not as pretty. My mom, sister and V all gave the dish a big thumbs up. The kids took one look and wouldn't try it

Gnocchi with Bacon and Spinach

1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/2 pieces
1/2 container low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup quattro fromaggio grated cheese mix
1 lb chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 package vacuum packed gnocchi

Cook bacon until crispy.
Mix with ricotta cheese, grated cheese, spinach, black pepper.
Cook gnocchi in boiling water.
Put gnocchi in shallow dish and layer spinach bacon mixture on top.

1 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup half and half
2 cups quattro fromaggio grated cheese mix
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp black pepper

Melt butter and add minced garlic. Stir in cream and bring to a simmer.
Turn heat to low and stir in cheese, parsley, nutmeg and black pepper.
Stir until cheese is melted.
Pour sauce over spinach and gnocchi.
Bake for 20 minutes at 375.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Day

It seems like I was cooking all day. The house smelled wonderful from the roasting turkey with the sausage stuffing.

I was following the recipe from Cooks Illustrated Best Recipe cookbook for a stuffed roasted turkey. They suggested putting onions, carrots and herbs on the bottom of the roasting pan as well as 1 cup of water. The roasting pan that I was using was large and very dark. The turkey ended up cooking at 400 for an extra 15 minutes while I was out and may have contributed to the onions and carrots on the bottom turning completely black. I wasn't sure if the drippings would taste burnt but they were fine for the gravy.

We sat down to roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed pototoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, steamed broccoli, roasted sweet potato and rolls. Only the rolls and the cranberry sauce were courtesy of Whole Foods Market. It all tasted great and V enjoyed it as well. As for the kids, G ate turkey and rolls, D ate turkey, sweet potato, broccoli and stuffing and A took one look at the food on the table and said he didn't want it. Instead he had a peanut butter sandwich and yogurt for dinner and a popsicle for dessert.

For dessert we had two pies, maple pecan pie and pumpkin pie. Both recipes come from the William Sonoma Pie cookbook and they are the ones that I make every year for Thanksgiving. V loves pecan pie and this one is very easy to make and the maple syrup gives it a slightly different flavor. I love pumpkin pie (though I will eat the pecan pie as well) and this recipe is also slightly different as it contains ground pecans and rum. I left out the pecans this year in hopes that G would try it but she settled for chocolate ice cream with lots of whipped cream. Rather than eating pie, she just wanted to pose for the picture with them.

Thanksgiving Preparations

What better day to start a food blog than the day before the biggest food day of the year. I love cooking for Thanksgiving though this year it feels like I am overdoing it. I am making the turkey, stuffing, gravy, and pies but it will only be for the five of us, no extra guests this year. V and I will certainly eat our fair share, but the kids, who knows. G will try everything but I have a feeling that A will take one look at the plate and decide not to eat. On the other hand, I love leftovers and can't wait to make turkey soup, turkey tetrazini and lots of turkey sandwiches. So I am sure the 16lb bird will get used up just fine.

The pies are made, the turkey is sitting in the fridge after being brined for 4 hours, and the bread for the stuffing is cut up and dried. I still have a whole list of things to do in the morning, but with no extra guests, if things get delayed or go wrong, no pressure. I'm sure everything will turn out fine.