Tag Archives: cheese

Spinach & Goat Cheese Dip

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It’s been a while, eh?  Life definitely got the best of me over the past 6 months and unfortunately something had to give.  It was truly not my intention to stop blogging, but it happened, and without going on-and-on, I truly missed it.  I’ve still been cooking, not as much as I would like, but that is changing too!

So, I will leave it at that.  I am SO happy to be back blogging, back making amazing recipes, back taking photos (especially with my new amazing light box!) and of course, sharing recipes with you all.  Thanks for sticking with me – the best is yet to come (and I promise on a more regular basis).

This dip is a recipe that showed up many times over the holiday season.  It is an amazing appetizer, it is quick to prepare and it is actually reasonably healthy.  It came to be as a pasta sauce and then I envisioned the recipe as a dip and the rest is history!

Definitely whip-up this dip for your next appetizer party, Friday night snack or just because – you won’t be disappointed.

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Spinach and Goat Cheese Dip

Yield: Appetizer for About 6 People
Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced/grated
  • 5 – 6 cups of fresh spinach
  • 3 – 4 TBSP water
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 3 TBSP parmesan cheese
  • dash of lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • dash of hot-sauce
  • dash of yellow mustard
  • S&P

Directions:

Over medium heat, heat the olive oil.  Add the onions and sautee until soft/translucent.  Add the garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant (30 seconds).

Add the fresh spinach to the pan and cook until spinach is soft and wilted.  Place the entire mixture into a blender and add the water to help with the puree process (or use a hand blender and puree in the pan).   Puree until smooth and no clumps remain.

Return the mixture to the pot over low heat, add the goat and parmesan cheese and remaining ingredients and whisk until incorporated and smooth. Season with S&P to taste and serve with fresh bread, crackers or whatever you please.

Recipe from the JBean Cuisine Kitchen.  Enjoy!

4 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Bread, Healthy, Mains, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Shrimp Stuffed Shells

My oh my – Cooking Light is two for two in my books so far.  I warned you guys that I was really impressed by the magazine, and it only took me a few days to whip-up another recipe that went straight to the front of the “must-blog” list – it was truly that delicious.

I have had these jumbo pasta shells in my cupboard since last year…I always wanted to make stuffed shells, but we aren’t the biggest pasta fans (read: I am not and I’ve gotten CH on board with spaghetti squash as a replacement!) so something always trumped one of the recipes I came across for stuffed shells…until this one.

This recipe was truly one of the most delicious pasta dishes I’ve made and I love that it has shrimp.  The creamy texture of the filling is also very welcomed in my books.  But the best part of this recipe is that it is”light” especially when it comes to baked pasta dishes.  Another slam-dunk for CL. CH and my friend who was my recipe tester (thanks CA!) both couldn’t believe how delicious this dish was, especially given it’s very friendly calorie count (see below!).

It is definitely a make-again, and leftovers were well received too (it reheated beautifully for a pasta dish).

If you like shrimp, creamy filled, baked pasta with a beautiful tomato sauce, definitely give this one a try.

Enjoy!

Shrimp-Stuffed Shells

Yield:  5 servings (4 shells each)
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  30-35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 8 ounces)
  • 1.5 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, or 4 shallots, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, grated or minced finely
  • 0.5 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 0.25 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 0.5 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (I used homemade), divided
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Cook the pasta shells for 7 minutes or until almost al dente.  Do not add any salt or oil to the water. Drain well and set-aside.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add the onion or shallots to the pan and saute for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for an additional minute.

Add the cream cheese, milk, and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook until cream cheese melts, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set-aside for a few minutes.

Once shrimp have been de-veined, peeled and coarsely chopped, be sure to dry them off with paper towel. Place shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with the corn starch – toss well to coat evenly. Add the shrimp to the cream cheese mixture and stir to combine.

Coat a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread 1 cup marinara over bottom of dish and arrange empty shells in the pan (makes clean-up a little easier to do it this way!).

Divide shrimp mixture evenly among pasta shells – about a tablespoon in each shell. Once all of the shells are filled, top them evenly with the remaining 2 cups of marinara sauce. Sprinkle shells evenly with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and cover with tinfoil.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes, remove tinfoil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until shrimp are done (they will be opaque).

Enjoy.

Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Nutritional Information:

Amount per serving (4 stuffed shells)

  • Calories: 496
  • Fat: 16g
  • Saturated fat: 6.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
  • Protein: 31.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 85.6g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Cholesterol: 163mg
  • Iron: 4.1mg
  • Sodium: 575mg
  • Calcium: 208mg

3 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Italian, Mains

The Perfect Stack: Crispy Eggplant, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

Fresh market tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese and crispy eggplant make for one of the simplest summer pleasures.

This salad highlights three of my favourite foods: eggplant, tomato and cheese.  This salad was so good, I could have eaten it every day of the summer.  Sadly, I ran out of eggplant – but I did eat it two nights in a row, which is very unusual for me. I don’t like leftovers or having the same thing over and over, but this salad was different.

This salad came to be kinda by accident actually.  I knew I wanted a tomato and mozzarella salad for dinner, something nice and fresh.  But when I opened my vegetable drawer, this little eggplant was looking at me sadly and was on the last stages of its life.  I knew I had to use it up quickly, but couldn’t decide how.  I realized the eggplant and my tomatoes were about the same size and that is how this dish was born.

CH is back in Canada for 3.5 weeks, however he was still able to ‘share’ this dish with me. I was chatting with him on Skype (btw – Skype is the greatest invention since the computer, IMO) and his jaw literally dropped when I came wondering into the room with this gorgeous looking creation.  He immediately instructed me to photograph it for the blog, but I couldn’t wait any longer and devoured it immediately (sorry, I know that’s so wrong of me as a food blogger!).  However, as I mentioned above, it wasn’t long before this was on my table again, and this time I made sure to nibble away before plating it, just so I could get through photographing it!

Anyways, I hope you enjoy this dish soon.  If you aren’t a fan of eggplant, simply omit it.  But with tomato season upon us, don’t omit this one from your repertoire.

Enjoy!

The Perfect Stack – Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Yield:  1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time:  5 – 10 minutes

For the Eggplant:

  • 1/2 small eggplant
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • S&P
  • 2 – 3 TBSP vegetable oil

For the Salad:

  • 1 medium tomato, sliced into 1/4 inch slices (or however thick you like)
  • 3 slices of mozzarella, about 1/4 of a ball, sliced into desired thickness
  • 3 small leaves of basil
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar reduction
  • 1 TSP olive oil (optional)

** TIP:  To make the balsamic reduction, simply heat 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Allow the vinegar to reduce by half, or until it coats the back of a spoon **

For the Eggplant:

Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices.  Rub both sides of the eggplant slices with garlic cloves (switch garlic halves about half-way through).

Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with salt and pepper.

Place flour in a shallow bowl. One by one, place each piece of eggplant into the flour, press down lightly to coat the eggplant evenly.  Tap lightly to remove extra flour.

Heat a large frying pan (or sauté pan) over medium-high heat.  Add the oil and heat until glistening.

Add the eggplant slices and pan-fry for 2-3 minutes per side.  Keep careful watch as not to burn them.  If they brown too quickly, lower the heat.

Flip each slice over and cook the other side, until nice and crisp (and golden brown).

Remove from frying pan and place on paper towel to drain off excess oil.

To Assemble the Salad:

Place a piece of the fried eggplant on your plate, top with a slice of mozzarella, 1 leaf of basil and a slice of tomato.  Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used up.

Drizzle the salad with the balsamic vinegar and 1 TBSP of olive oil (if desired).

Enjoy!

A JBean French Cuisine Original Recipe

8 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan