Artichoke & Roasted Garlic Spread

Artichoke Dip

Need a last minute Super Bowl Snack? This quick and easy recipe requires just four ingredients: garlic, artichoke hearts, olive oil, and lemon juice (and a little salt and pepper, but like Claire Robinson, those are my free ingredients).

Quick might also be stretching the truth given the garlic must roast for 30-40 minutes, but all you have to do is wrap the head of garlic in a piece of aluminum foil and place it in the oven. The rest is downtime, so kick up your heels and rest for a minute.

Artichoke Dip

Time’s up! Process the garlic (once it cools to room temperature) with the remaining ingredients. Now you have yourself a nice dip to serve with vegetables, chips, or a sliced baguette.

I also doctored a portion of mine up by adding hard boiled eggs and red curry powder to create a pseudo egg salad. Because I am of the mind that a quick and easy recipe deserves a quick and easy post, I am now done writing.

Artichoke Dip

Well, almost. I linked to this video before in my one post featuring a stuffed artichoke recipe, so some of you may have seen it. For those of you who have not, I leave you with a time-lapse video of an artichoke in bloom.

Nature. She can be a beast but she also amazes with things like this. Enjoy!

Artichoke & Roasted Garlic Spread
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of garlic
  • 1 (14-ounce) can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel the papery outer skin away from the garlic, then wrap the head in a piece of aluminum foil.
  2. Roast the garlic in an oven heated to 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until the garlic is tender when squeezed. Set aside until cool enough to touch.
  3. When the garlic has cooled, separate the individual garlic cloves from the head and squeeze the tender cloves into the bowl of a food processor.
  4. Add the artichoke hearts, olive oil, and lemon juice and process until the artichoke hearts are finely chopped.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.
Notes
For the best flavor, allow the spread to sit for at least one hour before serving. The spread will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.
 

Cavatini – Pizza Hut Style

Cavatini

Does anyone remember cavatini on the menu at Pizza Hut? Maybe a better question is, does anyone remember actually dining in at Pizza Hut? It’s been a while since those days.

My memories of dining at Pizza Hut include my dad usually ordering cavatini, so naturally, I usually ordered it too. We were always on a hunt to find the pasta shaped like wheels.  Typcially, you would only find one or two in the dish, they were so rare.

Although Pizza Hut as a dine-in restaurant and cavatini on its menus have gone by the way side, wheel-shaped pasta remains rare. In my quest to recreate this dish of my childhood, I went to more than one grocery store to find those wheels. It just did not seem like it would be cavatini without them.

What is cavatini, anyway? I wondered if it was a true pasta dish or something with a catchy name designed to sell, like Hagen Das. As near as I can tell, cavatini is a dish that consists of three types of pasta, three types of meat, and three types of cheese.

Cavatini

The recipe I share here is not true cavatini by definition. Here we prepare four types of pasta, two types of meat, and one type of cheese.  However, you are free to add and subtract as you please.

If you do not feel like going on a quest for wheel-shaped pasta, then by all means, use whatever you like. For a third type of meat, brown hamburger along with the sausage (pepperoni is the third meat).

I’m not sure what to suggest for a third cheese – mozzarella and Parmesan seem like they do the trick – but I have no doubt you will come up with something should you wish. If not, the recipe below is still pretty good.

In the cold winter where comfort foods reign, this cavatini did double duty, warming my belly and bringing back memories. Enjoy!

Cavatini

Pizza Hut Style Cavatini
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces pasta, preferably a mix of shells, spirals, ziti, and wheels
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • ½ pound Italian sausage
  • 2, 16 ounce jars tomato-based sauce of your choice
  • ¼ pound pepperoni
  • 1, 8 ounce bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Optional, for serving: Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted, boiling water to a boil, stir in the pasta, and cook until done.
  2. While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, green pepper, and onion and sauté for about five minutes. When the vegetables are done, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Fire up another burner and heat a second skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Italian sausage and cook until browned. When the meat is fully cooked, spoon the meat onto a plate lined with a paper towel to allow the excess grease to drain from the meat.
  4. Next, stir the meat into the tomato sauce. Do this in a new bowl, or wipe out the skillet you used to cook the meat and mix the sauce and meat together there.
  5. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray, then spoon in a very thin layer of sauce. It’s okay to see the bottom of the pan.
  6. Layer half of the pasta in over the sauce, followed by half of the pepper-onion mixture, half of the pepperoni, then half of the meat-tomato sauce mixture. Repeat this step again to use up all of the ingredients.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until the cheese is melted and perhaps beginning to brown.
Notes
While green peppers are typically fairly uniform in size, the size of onions can vary wildly. I used approximately one cup of green pepper and one-half cup of onion for this recipe. This amount of vegetables was enough for very thin layers across the pasta.

If desired, vegetable-lovers can add mushrooms to the vegetable layer. Meat-lovers can add1/2 pound of ground beef to the sauce. Simply brown the hamburger along with the Italian sausage.

If a 9 x 13 pan of pasta is too much food for your family (as it is mine), use two 8 x 8 baking dishes. After layering the pasta, vegetables, meat, sauce, and cheese, wrap one of the baking dishes in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze until ready to bake another time.
 

Butternut Chicken Stew

Butternut Chicken Stew

Week 12 of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash, and I am going out with a bang: a recipe with 20 ingredients. Twenty! If you want to clean out the pantry, this recipe could be your friend.

By all means, find a way to simplify the ingredient list to fit your needs, but I urge you not to omit the peanut butter. What? With 20 ingredients, surely  you expected an odd ball like peanut butter to make its way into a stew?

Before preparing this dish and enjoying it myself, I was right there with anyone who thought peanut butter in a butternut squash stew was odd, if not downright ridiculous. I enjoy peanut butter, but my uses for it extend to slathering it across a sliced apple, sandwiching it between a piece of bread, baking it into a dessert, or rolling it into buckeyes.

I definitely did not think to pair peanut butter with butternut squash, but it works, cutting the sweetness of the squash. My lukewarm feelings towards butternut squash are due solely to the fact that I find it too sweet (ironic given my love of all things dessert), so the result worked for me.

Butternut Chicken Stew

Now that our 12-week endeavor has drawn to a close, I hope you have found a few winter squash recipes to get you through the rest of the winter. Twenty-seven recipes from weeks 1-6 are available here, and the link below includes the winter squash dishes bloggers shared between weeks 7-12. I have also created a page of winter squash recipes I have made over the life of Love & Flour.

To close, I will leave you with a quote from Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:

“Concentrating on local foods means thinking of fruit invariably as the product of an orchard, and winter squash as the fruit of an early-winter farm. It’s a strategy that will keep grocery money in the neighborhood, where it gets recycled into your own school system and local businesses. The green spaces surrounding your town stay green, and farmers who live nearby get to grow more food next year, for you.”

Enjoy!

Butternut Chicken Stew

Butternut Chicken Stew
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves (2 teaspoons minced garlic)
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup beer (I used Yuengling Lager)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • Optional: chopped peanuts for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat the peanut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, ginger, red pepper flakes, and garlic and cook for two or three minutes until fragrant.
  3. Next, add the onion, carrots, red pepper, jalapeno pepper, and butternut squash to the pot and saute until the vegetables begin to soften, about five minutes.
  4. Now stir in the tomato paste, peanut butter, dijon mustard, beer, chicken stock, honey, and vinegar.
  5. Bring to a boil, cover and then reduce to a simmer until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
  6. Shred the rotisserie chicken and stir it in before serving.
  7. If desired, season with additional salt and pepper to taste and top with chopped peanuts.
Notes
If you prefer to cook your own chicken rather than purchase one cooked on a rotisserie, place two-three pounds of skinless, bone-in thighs and one cup of beer or stock in the slow cooker over low heat for four hours. When tender, allow the chicken to cool, shred it, and add it to the stew.

Please use the measurements in this recipe as a rough guide. For instance, if you want to use three carrots instead of two, by all means do so. If you do not want to use beer, simply add an extra cup of chicken stock to take its place.

A light to medium body beer will work best here. A stout or porter will be too dark. An ale or lager should be just right. I used a Yuengling Lager simply because it was the lightest beer lingering in my fridge.

For the garnish seen here, I added a dollop of Greek yogurt in addition to peanuts.
 

12 Weeks of Winter Squash

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