• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

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    em570039@mycia.net

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Balsamic Glazed Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Spinach

This was a fifteen minute dinner from start to finish – the perfect kind. I love the addition of balsamic vinegar to pasta, it’s sweet and thick and makes an almost instant “sauce”. I added mushrooms for earthiness and spinach to make it hearty, but you could easily add other vegetables, or some kind of meat (bacon would be awesome!).

Calzones with Ricotta, Spinach, Mushrooms, and Caramelized Onions

A meal like this calzone is a great excuse to use what you’ve got in the fridge. In my case, that’s usually the things I love most: veggies, cheese, herbs…all of which made their way into this calzone. You could mix up the filling anyway you like (shredded meat doused in a little sauce makes a delicious dinner…think the filling for these tacos).

It takes an understanding of your oven to best understand how to bake these, particularly because they are on the larger side. Feel free to use a pizza stone if you have one. If you find that the bottom is browning too quickly, double up on your baking sheets. If the top needs help browning, use the broiler. Since the filling is cooked before hand, it’s most important to make sure that the crust is baked and crispy!

Spinach Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Bacon Wrapped Figs

This was one of the most delicious dinners I’ve had recently, and definitely the most satisfying salad in ages. Freshness from spinach, earthiness and meatyness from mushrooms, richness from bacon, and sweetness from the figs. It’s just a few simple ingredients, three simple steps, and…what’s that? I had you at bacon? Well, on to the recipe, then.

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Chicken Sandwiches with Sundried Tomato Spread, Avocado, Caramelized Onions, and Spinach

Matt and I are in a habit of going grocery shopping everyday. At first, I hated this. I would make lists, try to plan ahead, and buy in bulk. Matt on the other hand, would casually suggest another trip to the store – for something we forgot, or something he just started craving, or something we didn’t even know we needed. Then he’ll wander the produce and meat aisles aimlessly, looking at sales and colors until – quite suddenly – he’ll stop at something. And that something becomes our dinner.

I hate to admit that not I love going to the store each day. We never throw food away because we bought too much, and we can decide each day what sounds good (or looks good). Plus, it’s a part of our day we enjoy together – before we even get into the kitchen. This morning Matt headed out to the store and brought a large package of thinly sliced chicken tenderloin and a bagful of all other kinds of goodies. We were starving, and dug in with the quickest thing we could make: sandwiches.

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Portobello Caps with Snap Pea and Sundried Tomato Salad

After hosting a few vegetarian visitors, I was struck with the idea of making myself a meatless supper. I also love roaming the produce aisles at the local grocery store and just picking out what looks good. It allows to me to pick the freshest, best products and come up with a way to use them. It also enables me to make just enough for myself by buying just what I need for one meal, making this the perfect weeknight supper when I eat alone.  Best of all, it takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare!

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Lasagna Rolls with Spinach, Sundried Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Creamy Shallot Sauce

I’ve been sick since late last week. I haven’t been sick in a long time, and I began to notice certain cravings. The most predominant craving was for buttered wheat toast. Another was for Sprite or ginger ale. These are the things my mother fed me when I was sick as a kid. So I went to the store and bought wheat bread for toast. I didn’t buy any ginger ale, but I drank plenty of juice and water, and ate nothing but toast for four straight days.

The one craving that was not based on my childhood, however, was that of comfort food…a craving that didn’t strike me until I was beginning to feel better.  Something soft, warm, and topped with cheese. That is what I wanted my first meal returned from the land of toast to be, and since I hadn’t eaten much of anything for several days, I figured it was ok to put a little extra cheese on top. Ahhhh…it feels good to be well again.

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