1lb Penne Rigate
1 chicken breast (your preferred cooking method or rotisserie)
2 cup fresh spinach
1 small shallot (of ½ small red onion) finely diced
1 head of garlic
4 tbsp unsalted butter
½ head of cauliflower (cut into florets)
½ – 1C parmesan
1-2 C shredded Italian cheese
Nutmeg (small dash)
Prepare your chicken. I chose to sous vide mine and began working on the other components.
Cut your garlic head at the top 1/3. Place in foil and cover in olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for about a half hour. It will become very fragrant.
Steam your cauliflower, remove.
Boil and drain your pasta, set aside.
I used an immersion blender in a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use your food processor or quality blender. You want this as smooth as possible.
Add in the butter, the buttermilk (I used both heavy cream and buttermilk because I needed to use up the cream. Feel free to use which ever you like but no lower than whole milk).
Add in the Worcestershire sauce, the spices and roasted garlic. Blend until very smooth.
Taste and adjust your seasonings as necessary.
In a sauce pan, add olive oil and soften your onion or shallots. Add the spinach, salt and pepper. Add the zucchini and the squash. Cook until fork tender. Remove and set aside.
(At this point I had to sear off my chicken for some good ol’ Maillard)
I removed the chicken, add the sauce to the pan and stirred up on the brown bits. I added the cheese at this point. I added the chicken juices to this too.
I added the vegetables and the sliced chicken back to the sauce. Heat through.
Toss with pasta.
This is the truth.
© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved
This pizza is packed with veggies, herbs and several different kinds of cheeses. You can find a simple pizza dough recipe here. If you have a pizza stone, by all means use that. I do not have one so I tend to just use my cast iron griddle and cast iron pans to make my pizzas.
Please be careful as there is a lot of putting in and taking out of the oven. You need to move pretty fast once you start the baking process so I strongly recommend prepping everything before you begin.
Balsamic reduction is a favorite of mine when it comes to tomatoes and Brussel sprouts, so I whipped up a small amount to drizzle over the pizza. That seriously took the whole dish to the next level. You can adapt this to use up whatever veg you have on hand. Season and adjust ingredients to suit your taste! At the base, it’s a simple dough and a simple ricotta mixture, feel free to customize and build upon it.
Italian Cheese Blend
Thinly sliced, or shaved Brussel sprouts
- Preheat your cast iron (or pizza stone) in the oven at 500 degrees
- Slice and shave your vegetables
- In a small bowl, mix the shaved brussels with a little bit of oil (and s&p)
- In another small bowl, toss the zuchinni with a little bit of oil (and s&p)
- Slice tomatoes, set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix ricotta, herbs, salt, pepper, parmesan and grate fresh garlic into the mixture.
- Slowly add milk a bit at a time and whisk until it is smooth and spreadable
- Taste and adjust seasonings (including herbs) to suit your taste.
- I used a fair amount of dried herbs in this. You can absolutely use fresh if you have them on hand.
- Set aside.
- Prepare your dough.
- Roll out the dough to suit your baking vehicle (cast iron skillet, griddle, pizza stone, etc).
- Carefully remove baking vehicle from the oven, sprinkle with flour or corn meal.
- Carefully place your dough onto it.
- If you have ‘extra’ dough hanging, carefully roll it up and make a ‘border’ and brush it with oil
- Gently pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork to ensure it doesn’t bubble up too much when in the oven.
- Pre-bake the dough for about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- Spread ricotta mixture and make sure you leave about ½” space
- Sprinkle a bit of the shredded cheese
- Arrange the zucchini
- Bake for about 5 minutes
- Remove from oven.
- Sprinkle more cheese.
- Arrange tomatoes and distribute the shredded Brussel sprouts
- Bake for about 5-10 minutes.
For simple balsamic reduction:
- Pour about a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar into a pot over medium heat
- Add about 2 tsp of sugar
- Whisk to combine
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat
- The liquid will reduce and coat the back of a spoon)
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle feta.
- Turn on broiler and broil until crust browns a bit. Be careful. Your pizza will burn. And you will cry.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Drizzle with reduction and enjoy!
© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved
I wanted a really yummy side for this meal that I’ve been daydreaming about for a week (post coming soon). I wanted something crunchy, but after the holiday, I couldn’t bear the thought of something heavy or deep-fried.
Enter crispy, baked zucchini fries. Now, before you raise and eyebrow- these were so delicious I haven’t stopped talking about them. However much you plan to make? Double that. Freeze what’s leftover and thank me later. I bet you you’ll love them and I bet you’ll use these techniques on whatever veggies you have laying around (string beans, peppers- hello!)
You want to season the fries generously. You will be doing the three-stop dredge (flour, egg, panko). Instead of frying these, we will line them on a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet and bake them on high heat until crispy and golden brown.
These taste so good you will forget that they are good for you! Low-carb, baked vegetables.
Insert heart-eye emoji.
Throw in the pig emoji too.
(This recipe can easily be scaled up or down, there are very few precise ingredients here. This is just what I did for dinner tonight.)
1 large green zucchini
1 large yellow zucchini
Cooking spray or olive oil
- Pre-heat your oven to 425.
- Cut the ends off of your zucchini.
- Cut the zucchini in half.
- Slice them length wise into about four slices ¼” to ½” thick.
- Slice these into about 3-4 “fries”.
- Place your “fries” into a container and season them generally.
- Allow them to rest as you continue to prep your dredging station. Flour, panko and egg are not measured. I eyeball it. But always, ALWAYS use less than you think you will need. You can always add more if you need it. However, if you use too much you’re not pouring that flour back or that panko back into the containers. That’s gotta go in the trash. I try to minimize waste where I can. Use less, you can always add more-rule of thumb. Note: Liquid will likely accumulate in the zucchini container due to the salt; if so, simply drain the liquid.
- A few at a time, place the “fries” into the flour and coat evenly.
- Then place them in the egg and coat evenly.
- Toss them in the panko and coat evenly. Press the panko gently into the “fries”.
- Place them on the baking rack until you are ready to go.
- (Note: if you do a large amount, these can be frozen (and kept frozen) until you are ready to use them. If you are baking these from the freezer, simply follow the remaining steps. Do not thaw.)
- Before baking, spray generously with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Optional: sprinkle with sea salt or coarse kosher salt.
- Place the baking rack on top of a cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
These are best fresh, piping hot from the oven.
© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved
I love a flavor-packed dish with these flavors. You really can’t go wrong with garlic, ginger, cilantro, soy, sesame, etc. Tossing these ingredients together with brown rice noodles and veggie noodles (carrot and zuchinni), you’ve got a super light salad that can be eaten hot or cold.
It’s delicious as part of an entree, a side or a light lunch!
Chili Lime Peanut Noodle Salad
1 package of brown rice noodles, cook as directed
1 large zuchinni julienned, (invest in a mandolin slicer w/ attachments or vegetable spiralizer)
2 carrots, julienned
3 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, grated
1-2 inch ginger, grated
2 tbsp water
juice and zest of 1 large lime
3-4 tbsp of peanut butter, creamy or chunky
2 tsp of sambal
1 tsp of fish sauce
½ tsp of oyster sauce
1 tbsp of rice vinegar
½ tsp of sesame oil
2 tbsp of light brown sugar
¼ cup chopped cilantro, to finish
- Cook rice noodles following package directions.
- In a large bowl combine the sauce ingredients and whisk vigorously until well combined. Taste and add ingredients as needed (I wound up adding a bit more ginger and crushed red pepper).
- Using a mandolin slicer (or vegetable spiralizer), shred your zucchini and your carrots.
- Drain noodles and reserve ¼ cup of cooking liquid.
- Put noodles back into pot, add shredded vegetables and sauce
- Using tongs, toss to combine
- This can be served hot, warm or cold.
Leftover sauce can be loosened with more lime juice or water and used as a salad dressing! Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated.
© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved