Tag Archives: main meal

CARAMELIZED ONION AND GOAT CHEESE QUESADILLA

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Most of my favorite foods are the ones that play themselves off as sophisticated, but are still meant to be eat with your hands.

They know what’s going on when it comes to flavor, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. Like this miso mozzarella grilled cheese or these crab fritter tacos. They’ve got it going on when it comes to flavor and texture, but also have some serious napkin requirements.
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This caramelized onion and goat cheese quesadilla is totally part of that club! It’s a giant crispy tortilla filled with creamy, melted goat cheese and mozzarella. There’s also sweet, gooey caramelized onions in there, and some sautéed baby spinach for good conscience.
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This is one of those weeknight dinners I can pull together quickly and feel good about. If you make the onions in advance, it’s a really quick meal. And there’s really nothing wrong with having a container full of caramelized onions just sitting in your fridge, waiting to be eaten.

Trust me on that one.

This quesadilla fulfills all my bar food cravings and makes me feel like a responsible grown-up all at the same time. Goat cheese has a way of doing that to girl.
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CARAMELIZED ONION AND GOAT CHEESE QUESADILLA

Makes 1 quesadilla

Ingredients
1 large flour tortilla
2 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 large sweet onion
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup wine, beer, or stock
2 tbsp. olive oil (divided)
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. thyme (fresh or dry)
salt & pepper

Instructions
First, caramelize the onions: Peel the onion and slice in half. Slice each half into 1/2-inch slices. Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and 1 tbsp. of the olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the sliced onion to the pan and toss to coat in the fat. Let sit for 3-4 minutes, then add the thyme and toss to mix. Cover the pan.

Continue to stir and cover the onions every 4-5 minutes. After about 20 minutes, the onions will start to brown. (If this happens to quickly, turn your heat down / not quickly enough, turn your heat up.)
Once the onions become browned and very soft, almost like jam, add the wine beer, or stock to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spatula to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and remove from heat.

Onions can be caramelized up to 3 days in advance, and refrigerated in an air-tight container. Microwave before using to remelt the fats.

To make the quesadilla: heat a skillet pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and the baby spinach. Season the spinach lightly with salt and pepper. Use tongs to toss the spinach until bright green and wilted, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.

While you cook the spinach, let a griddle pan heat up over medium-high heat. Then spread the goat cheese evenly over one side of the tortilla. Place the tortilla cheese-side-up on the griddle pan. Sprinkle evenly with the grated mozzarella.

Once the mozzarella cheese melts, add the onions evenly to one half of the tortilla. Place the cooked spinach evenly over the onions. Carefully use a spatula to for the tortilla over the onions and spinach. Continue cooking until the outsides are browned as desired. Enjoy immedieately!

GRILLED PEACH AND PROSCIUTTO PIZZA

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Alright guys, I think this is my last call for peaches…this summer, anyway. Now that we’ve got the cocktail and the dessert, this Grilled Peach and Prosciutto Pizza is completing the peach trifecta.

What is the peach trifecta, you ask?

Nothing, I just made it up right now. Moving on.
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If you’re really not into the close of summer, this pizza is for you. Fresh peaches are grilled till they’ve got beautiful grill marks. That gives them a deeper flavor and makes them look pretty.

Salty Prosciutto comes in to balance out that sweetness. Have you had prosciutto on pizza before? It’s like fancy, paper-thin bacon. It crisps up so nicely. It’s the best.

The unsung hero of this pizza is really the bottom layer of goat cheese. It’s gently warmed to become nice and spreadable and flavored with honey and thyme. Ah-may-zing.
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We’re not using too much and not just dropping huge dollops on top, so it’s fairly subtle. Which can be hard to achieve in the goat cheese department. It’s still there, but playing as much of a supporting role as diva goat cheese is capable of doing.

This is such a perfect end of summer meal. If you’re craving it in the winter, though, just defrost some frozen peaches and throw them onto a grill pan. It’ll be like summer vacation in your slippers.
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GRILLED PEACH AND PROSCIUTTO PIZZA

Ingredients
Pizza Topping:
Makes enough for one 10-inch pizza
1 peach
2 oz. soft goat cheese
1 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
3-4 slices prosciutto
4-5 large basil leaves, chopped
aged balsamic vinegar, for topping.

Pizza Dough:
Makes enough for two 10-inch pizzas
1 tsp. dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

Instructions
If making your own pizza dough: Combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer* and mix with a fork until the water becomes cloudy. Add the flour and salt and mix slowly with the paddle attachment until a wet dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook attachment and kneed the dough for about 3-5 minutes. It should be tacky and elastic. If it is too sticky, add more flour 1 tbsp. at a time.

Pull the dough out of the bowl and set aside. Add 1-2 tbsp. olive oil to the bowl and put the dough back in. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 90 minutes. Once it’s risen you can either use the dough immediately, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze it.

To make the pizza: Place a pizza stone in the center of your oven and preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Make sure your pizza dough is at room temperature. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Cut an “x” in the bottom of the peach through the skin. Place the peach in the boiling water for 60 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon. Once it’s cool enough to handle, peel the skin off the peach.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Slice the peaches in 1/8-inch slices. Grill each slice until dark char-marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Place the goat cheese in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 15 seconds. If the cheese isn’t spreadable after 15 seconds, heat for another 10 seconds on medium heat. Add the olive oil, honey, and time and mix to combine.

Gently work your pizza dough into a rough circle and place on a piece of parchment pizza. Evenly spread the goat cheese over the dough, leaving a border for crust. Evenly distribute the peaches. Use your hands to tear to prosciutto into 3-4 pieces per slice and place around the peaches.

Use a pizza peel to slide the pizza onto the pizza stone and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately top with the chopped fresh basil. Drizzle with the aged balsamic and enjoy immediately!

If you don’t own a stand mixer, you can mix the dough by hand in a large bowl and and kneed 5-10 minutes on a floured surface. Oil the bowl and return the bowl to rest.

MOM’S SIMPLE CLAM SAUCE

It’s Thursday, folks. Not quite the weekend yet, but close. So you should probably still make dinner.

And now you’re all like uughhh again? I did this the past three nights…pasta and jarred sauce it is. And I’m like, seriously? Again? Let’s try this instead.
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This simple clam sauce is a taste of home for me. My mom made this sauce all the time while were were growing up, and she still does! It’s an awesome way to have a simple, flavorful weeknight meal.

The sauce comes together in about 10-15 minutes so can easily be made while a pot of water boils to cook the pasta. Some days she would even make the sauce in the morning before she left for work so all that needed to be done later was boil the pasta.

While we were visiting over the holidays we made this sauce. My brother in law showed me how to make made fresh pasta to go with it – it was amazing! A simple sauce like this one makes the task of making your own pasta seem so much more doable. That might not be a great weeknight idea, but it’s a great way to have a fun, fresh weekend meal that doesn’t take all day to pull together.
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I love to use fresh herbs for this sauce when I can, but in the winter months it is tough to keep these on hand all the time. The sauce can easily be made with dried herbs; you may just need to increase the quantities for maximum flavor.

I recommend always keeping some dry pasta and canned clams in your pantry. The rest of the ingredients are all things you likely always have on hand, making this a great option in a pinch. It is easily doubled (or tripled!) if you find yourself needing to feed a crowd on a budget and/or a the last minute!

Like this post? Looking for more weeknight meals? Check out this Miso Glazed Salmon and Brussels Sprout Hash!
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MOM’S SIMPLE CLAM SAUCE

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 cans chopped clams & their juices
3 tbsp. salted butter
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh chopped basil (about 6 leaves)
2 tbsp. fresh chopped oregano (about 2 stems)

1 lb. cooked linguine pasta
grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Instructions
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and stir until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add all the clams and their juices and let the mixture come to a simmer. Once the sauce starts to simmer add the fresh herbs and simmer for a few minutes longer.

This sauce can be served immediately or left to cool to room temperature and reheated when needed. When ready to serve, add approximately 1/2 cup of the sauce to the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Plate the pasta and top with the sauce. Sauce can be kept refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to one week.