Creamy Leek & Spinach Pasta

Pasta night may just be a new addition to the weekly menu. Between carbonara and zucchini linguine with herbs, I’m really not sure why pasta doesn’t make a more frequent appearance. It is delicious, easy, economical and the possibilities are endless. Although the deliciousness and total disregard for portion control may be part of the problem…

Inspired by this Food & Wine Recipe, leeks are always welcome and appreciated in my kitchen.

Creamy Leek & Spinach Pasta - serves 2 with leftovers

  • 6 oz pasta whole wheat pasta
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp garlic & herb mascarpone cheese (or plain)
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach
  • parmesan cheese, pepper and red pepper

Prepare pasta as directed. Heat olive oil in large pan and add leeks and garlic when hot. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until soft. Add cooked pasta to pan and toss with mascarpone and spinach. Finish with freshly grated parmesan and red & black pepper.

endive boats

There is something about endive leaves that I love. Perhaps it’s because they are so pretty and seemingly dainty. Perhaps it’s because they can healthfully and deliciously stand in for yet another piece of bread. (Not that I would ever get sick of bread, let’s be real). But whatever the reason, I’m going to continue to use them. They are perfect for dips, spreads and bruschetta-like toppings.

I served the components alone and let my guests serve themselves. Which turned out to be a good idea because they all thought the beets tasted like dirt and wanted nothing to do with them.  I didn’t mind though, the leftovers made a great topping for salads. ;)

But I promise – to the beet lovers of the world – you will love it.

Squash, Beet & Blue Cheese Endive Boats

  • Endive leaves (about 2 bunches)
  • 2 roasted beets, chopped
  • 3/4 cup roasted squash, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp roasted pecans, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp blue cheese crumbles

Serve the beets, squash, pecans and blue cheese in little dishes and let guests build their boats!

roasted cauliflower with blue cheese vinaigrette

Some vegetables are just plain better when they are roasted. Cauliflower is one of them for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat some raw cauliflower with hummus any day, but I devour it roasted.

Adding a vinaigrette with blue cheese just takes it to the next level. I’ve been thinking of the leftovers ever since I placed them in the fridge…

Roasted Cauliflower with Vinaigrette from Eating Well

  • 1 head cauliflower, sliced into 1″ thick pieces
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp blue cheese crumbles
  • salt & pepper

Roast cauliflower in a 375° oven, about 20 minutes, or until edges start turning brown. Mix remaining ingredients and drizzle over warm cauliflower.

lemon-ricotta hotcakes

If you have ever been to Hell’s Kitchen restaurant in Minneapolis, chances are you know exactly what I am talking about. Nine times out of ten I prefer savory breakfasts, but these pancakes are the one out of ten. With a subtle lemon flavor and extra-creamy ricotta cheese,  these are sure to become a favorite.

“When my wife, Cynthia, patrols the floor of the restaurant, she looks for diners ready to order, then swoops in and insists someone at the table have the Lemon-Ricotta Hotcakes.  It’s cute, but it kind of hurts in a way. We have dozens of items on the menu that I think are worthy of her overzealousness. But she has a jones for those hotcakes. Come to think of it, after three years in this restaurant, I don’t think she’s ever ordered anything but the hotcakes”
~ Damn Good Food

The recipe is from Damn Good Food, by Mitch Omer and Ann Bauer. It is a cookbook/memoir of Mitch’s journey through life, addiction and cooking, with recipes from his restaurant, Hell’s Kitchen along the way. The recipes alone are reason enough to buy this book, but the story was intriguing enough to keep me on the couch until it was finished. Next on my list to make? His famous home-made peanut butter…or the Walleye BLT. But maybe I’ll just let the devil decide…