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I received free samples of Cabot Cheese mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes. I was not additionally compensated for my time.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes.Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes via JennySheaRawn.com

This is a true WOW dish.

Some of my favorite folks up in Vermont at Cabot Creamery challenged us Recipe ReDux members to create a healthier snack – finger foods to hearty apps – using their cheddar. We use their cheddar daily, whether it’s in pasta, omelettes, burgers, overtop black beans, in grilled cheese, etc. So, I wanted to do something a special for this contest that was different from our everyday cheddar-topped eats.

So, along came Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes.

Make this for the big game next Sunday while you watch the Pats win. Or make as an appetizer any night when you want a showstopper dish.

You need only 4 ingredients. A medium head of cauliflower, diced tomatoes (seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano),  a tube of pesto paste and your favorite Cabot cheddar. Spread the pesto overtop the cauliflower. Top with the can of tomatoes and pop into a 425 oven.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes via JennySheaRawn.com

After about 45-55 minutes (depending on the size of the cauliflower) and when the cauliflower is fork tender and looks like the below, remove from the oven and top with the shredded cheddar.Whole roasted cauliflower Bake for another 3 minutes until the cheese is melted then broil for 1-2 minutes until the cheese begins to brown. Remove from oven carefully.Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes via JennySheaRawn.comVoila.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes via JennySheaRawn.com

Slice and serve.Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes via JennySheaRawn.com

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes

Serves: 6 as an appetizer or side dish

Time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cleaned with stem and bottom leaves sliced off
  • 2.5 oz prepared pesto paste (we used Amore)
  • 5 oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (we used Hunt’s)
  • 3 oz Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Place cauliflower in a medium-sized baking dish. Spread pesto paste on cauliflower with a basting brush. Pour can of tomatoes overtop the cauliflower. Roast for 45-55 minutes, depending on the size of the cauliflower, until fork tender. Remove from oven carefully and top with shredded cheddar. Bake 3 more minutes until cheese is melted then broil 1-2 more minutes to begin browning the cheese. Remove from oven and top with freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Slice into steaks. Serve with a spoon of tomatoes (from the sides of the baking dish) on top.

A bit more about Cabot Creamery:

Cabot Creamery is a family-farmer owned cooperative of more than 1200 farms located throughout New England and New York. One-hundred percent of Cabot’s profits go back to their farmers. Cheddar cheese is a protein-rich snack and naturally lactose free.

Check out these other fabulous Cabot recipes from fellow Recipe ReDuxers:

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White Bean, Tomato and Ricotta Bake via JennySheaRawn.comComforting. Hearty. Warming. And just four ingredients makes up this White Bean, Tomato and Ricotta Bake. It’s perfect when you want something a bit lighter and more protein-rich than your traditional lasagna or pasta dish.

This dish was inspired by a simple white bean, garlic and tomato starter that we had a few years back at the Gaslight Restaurant in Portsmouth. The appetizer was so basic, but amazingly good. It was so good that we wanted to forgo our main course for a few more orders of those “special” white beans. Since then, we’ve made quite a few variations of this quick dish by adding baby kale, fennel, baking it, sauteing it, adding cheese, etc. We love tonight’s version because of the creaminess from the ricotta (love ricotta) that’s added towards the end of baking time. Serve with a crisp green salad and a crusty baguette.

White Bean, Tomato and Ricotta Bake

Serves: 4

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1 15.5 oz can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz part-skim ricotta (about 3 dollops)
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Combine tomatoes and beans in a small baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and add dollops of ricotta. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan. Bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and top with freshly ground pepper, if desired. Serve.

White Bean, Tomato and Ricotta Bake via JennySheaRawn.com

 

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Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce. This is one dish I could eat every single day. It’s so fresh and light. In the doldrums of winter, we all need a little fresh, don’t we?

Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls with spicy peanut sauce via JennySheaRawn.com

We made these rolls for this month’s Recipe ReDux theme:

Start Smoking in the New Year

The New Year is heating up with smoke and spiciness. From boldly flavored smoked salts to actual smoking techniques, subtly smoked food is on-trend. The same can be said for spice as we savor heat from harissa, sriracha and smoked paprika. Show us the healthy dish you’re heating up with smoke and/or spiciness.

We use sriracha on lots of things. Eggs, black beans, in many marinades – but probably my favorite use is in this spicy peanut dipping sauce for spring rolls. Adrian uses a heavy hand with the stuff, I use a lighter hand as I am more sensitive to hot & spicy foods. He also adds sriracha to the inside of the rolls for an extra kick.

We always make our own peanut sauce because it’s so easy. Yes, there’s a list of ingredients, but most of them you already have on hand. And we cannot find a store bought sauce that comes any close to our own. This peanut sauce is also perfect for a dipping sauce for tofu fries – Adrian is a pro at making those simply pan fried until crispy. This peanut sauce has turned tofu haters into tofu lovers.

Have you found a store-bought peanut sauce that you like? Or do you make your own?

These fresh rolls are a little different each time we make them. Sometimes we use shrimp, sometimes tofu. Sometimes we add avocado for creaminess – other times we skip it. Normally we’ll use both cilantro and mint (love the combo) other times we use just one or the other. We typically use rice vermicelli (rice noodles), but you can also use sushi rice, brown rice, etc. Bottom line – you can personalize these depending on what you have on hand.

The best part about making the fresh spring rolls at home? It makes for a fun hands-on dinner – everyone assembles their own, adding what and how much they want of each ingredient. And it forces you to slow down when you eat because you’re making them as you go. I am the slowest eater on the planet and Adrian is the fastest – this puts us on an even playing field.

How gorgeous are these ingredients?

Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls with spicy peanut sauce via JennySheaRawn.com

My love for fresh spring rolls began in college at one of my favorite Boston Vietnamese restaurants, Pho Pasteur. I would go there at least twice a week in college and grad school because the fresh spring rolls were so cheap and so good – and you could make your own with mint, carrots, tofu or shrimp, rice vermicelli and lettuce. They were served with peanut sauce and hoisin sauce for dipping. They were crisp, fresh and packed with flavor. But Pho skimped on the fresh mint – so I always requested extra to add to my rolls.

Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Serves: 4

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the rolls:

  • 16 rice paper wraps
  • 3-4 oz rice vermicelli noodles / thin rice noodles (normally sold in 8 – 17.5oz packages – make sure you seal the unused portion in a plastic bag, as humidity will ruin it), placed in hot water for 10 minutes then drained
  • 1 lb shrimp, cooked (these can either be hot or cold-  we prefer to flash saute them so they’re warm)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small bunch mint, leaves pulled from stems
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup peanuts, crushed
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges

For the spicy peanut dipping sauce (seems like a lot of ingredients, but most of them you probably have on hand).

  • ¼ cup peanut butter, creamy is best
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha
  • ½ tsp fish sauce
  • Juice of ½ lime or if you don’t have a fresh lime, use 1 packet True Lime
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Dash garlic powder
  • Dash ginger powder or 1 tsp fresh ginger

Directions:

For the fresh spring rolls: Prep all ingredients and put into small bowls on the table or atop a large cutting board (as shown). Place rice noodles in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a simmer, remove from heat and set on table. Dip a rice paper wrap in the water (careful, the water is hot!) and lay on your plate. Then, build your own spring roll and roll it like a mini burrito. Serve with lime segments and peanut sauce.

For the spicy peanut sauce: combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Heat in 10 second increments (3-4 times) stirring after each increment until smooth and combined.

These fresh rolls can also be made ahead of time if you’re serving them as an appetizer for guests.

Visit these other Recipe ReDuxer blogs for more smoke and spiciness inspiration:

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Creamy Mushroom Soup topped with Popcorn.Creamy mushroom soup

It’s National Popcorn Day. To celebrate, instead of just snacking on popcorn, I’ve topped this savory and creamy mushroom soup with the white, crunchy and light corn. Have you tried soup with popcorn? It’s a unique swap for traditional soup toppings or sides like croutons, crackers or a crusty chunk of bread. Plus, popcorn is a whole grain, is relatively low in calories and is rich in filling fiber (scroll down for more interesting popcorn facts). And it’s just fun to top soup with popcorn.

It’s been a COLD January. Which means lots of soups and chili, whether homemade or boxed (we’ve been loving the boxed soups from Trader Joes for super quick weeknight dinners). Homemade, of course, always tastes better AND you control what simple ingredients go into that soup.

This is one of the best soups we’ve made. It’s for mushroom lovers (like me) and really showcases the hearty, umami-rich and meaty mushroom.

Creamy mushroom soup

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Popcorn

Serves: 4

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp salted butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 oz shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth (use low-sodium if you prefer it)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain Chobani (0% or 4%)
  • 2 cups popcorn (we love Popcorn, Indiana’s Sea Salt Popcorn)

Directions:

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sliced shallots and sauté 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and thyme and sauté over medium heat about 10-12 minutes until mushrooms have sweat out much of their liquid and begin to lightly brown.  Set 1/4 cup mushrooms aside. Add the chicken broth, milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until it reaches desired puréed consistency (be careful as this liquid is still hot). Pour into bowls. Top with a dollop of Chobani and a few mushroom slices. Serve with popcorn for topping.

 

To celebrate National Popcorn Day, here are a few Fun Popcorn Facts courtesy of The National Popcorn Board:

– Americans consume some 16 billion quarts of this whole grain, good- for-you treat each year. That’s 52 quarts per man, woman, and child.

– Compared to most snack foods, popcorn is low in calories. Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup. Oil-popped is only 55 per cup.

– Popcorn is a whole grain. It is made up of three components: the germ, endosperm, and pericarp (also know as the hull).

– Most U.S. popcorn is grown in the Midwest, primarily in Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri.

– The peak period for popcorn sales for home consumption is in the fall.

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Cheesy Skillet Roasted Potatoes with Bacon.

Cheesy Skillet Potatoes with Bacon

Sort of like the stuffed baked potato of your youth. But so much better. Those stuffed baked potatoes were good, but I always ignored the tough potato skin and just ate the inside sour cream/butter/cheesy goodness. The toppings were the star in those stuffed baked potatoes.

In this dish, the crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside potatoes are the star. The toppings run a close second, but they don’t overload or overpower the potatoes because they’re used in small portions.

We roasted halved tender fingerling potatoes in cast-irons skillets then added shredded Cabot Cheddar and a sprinkle of crumbled bacon on top for the last 2 minutes of roasting. The cast-iron skillet gives the potato that crispy brown crust – which is a must for roasted potatoes. Be careful not to crowd the potatoes – if you do, they’ll steam and won’t get brown and crispy like these.  If you’re like the Rawns and have 5 cast-iron skillets, you’ll have plenty of room to roast your spuds. If you only have one skillet, you may want to roast them in batches.

Cheesy Skillet Potatoes with Bacon

These skillet roasted potatoes are delicious simply naked (left) with salt and pepper or loaded (right) with cheese, bacon and some parsley for color.

Cheesy Skillet Potatoes with Bacon

We love these potatoes served with a leafy green salad and roasted chicken. They’re also delicious served a side with tomato or broccoli and cheese soup.

Cheesy Skillet Roasted Potatoes

Serves: 4 as a side dish

Time: Active time: 5 minutes / Roasting time 30-35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes, halved
  • ½ cup Cabot Cheddar, shredded (we used Extra Sharp but use any Cabot Cheddar you have on hand)
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 425 with cast-iron skillets inside (we used two 9-inch skillets). In a bowl, toss potatoes in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully remove skillets from oven. Add potatoes into each skillet; careful not to crowd the spuds. Roast for about 30 minutes or until crisp and golden brown, flipping halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese and crumbled bacon. Place back in oven 2 more minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Disclosure: I am on the Cabot Cheese Board and receive regular free samples of their products. I was not compensated for this post.

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Veggie Inspiration

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes

I received free samples of Cabot Cheese mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes. I was not additionally compensated for my time. Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes. This is a true WOW dish. Some of my favorite […]

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Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce. This is one dish I could eat every single day. It’s so fresh and light. In the doldrums of winter, we all need a little fresh, don’t we? We made these rolls for this month’s Recipe ReDux theme: Start Smoking in the New Year The New Year is […]

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Roasted Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Raisins and Pumpkin Seeds

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.Roasted shaved Brussels sprouts with raisins and pumpkin seeds – a side dish fit for your festive holiday table. By shaving the […]

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Roasted Fennel and Cauliflower with White Beans and Shaved Parmesan

Roasted fennel and cauliflower with white beans and shaved parmesan. Who says monochromatic food has to be boring. These are my kind of winter whites. This dish is packed with flavor and good-for-you compounds. You’re getting a hefty dose of protein and fiber from the white beans, cancer-fighting sulfur containing compounds plus a good source of folate […]

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Simply Roasted Parsnips with Rosemary

Simply Roasted Parsnips with Rosemary.Parsnips. A forgotten and overlooked root vegetable, even by me, lover of all veggies. But parsnips remind me of family. For as long as I can remember, whenever we visit my parents house in CT in the fall or winter, mom makes a few large pans of roasted vegetables with rosemary, garlic and thyme. […]

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Naan Pizzas with Garlicky Roasted Tomatoes and Ricotta

On Monday evening, Adrian and I were out in the yard sanding and oiling a few pieces of furniture – typical evening at the Rawns. We were greeted by our sweet neighbors with a few pounds of just-picked tomatoes. Love gifts from the garden. Aren’t they the best? Anyhow, the neighbors told us they couldn’t […]

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