Filet Mignon with Balsamic Reduction and Goat Cheese

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Too much of a good thing is impossible. At least when it comes to goat cheese.

I am a goat cheese fanatic, and I am always looking for new ways to incorporate this rich and flavorful cheese into my recipes. Plus, for those that are lactose intolerant, it’s an LI friendly cheese!

Now, although Pleadings & Pasta likes to create original dishes, sometimes you come across a flawless recipe that needs to be shared with everyone. This recipe is one of those.

Ms. Giada De Laurentiis is my culinary muse, and her effortless approach to cooking is embodied in this recipe for a filet mignon with balsamic reduction and goat cheese.

The tangy balsamic reduction brought me back to my epic dinner at Acqua al 2 in Florence, Italy where I had a similar dish. The goat cheese melts so beautifully and makes for a fancy, but easy meal.20131014-122808.jpg

Eat with all of your heart,

G

Rosemary Rack of Lamb

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Fall is here.

With the changing leaves, and chilly temperature comes the desire for rich, flavorful dishes to usher out the light, refreshing ones of summer.

Rack of lamb has always intimidated me with its fancy presentation, and the ability to truly destroy it by over or undercooking it. However, I took up the challenge and the result was juicy, tender, and downright delectable.

Rosemary Rack of Lamb

Pleadings & Pasta 2013

1 Rack of Lamb

Olive oil

5-7 Sprigs of Rosemary

4-6 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Generously salt and pepper the rack of lamb. Crumble the rosemary sprigs and rub vigorously into the meat on both sides. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and put in fridge for 2 hours.

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2. Remove lamb from fridge and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, still wrapped.

3. Heat up a skillet to medium to high heat. Remove lamb from wrap, and brown the lamb on both sides (about 3-4 minutes per side). Meanwhile heat up the oven to 400 degrees.

4. Transfer the rack to a pre-heated cookie sheet wrapped in foil and place in pre-heated oven.

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5. Cook for 12-15 minutes and then flip and repeat. Regularly check the lamb to determine how cooked the inside is. Some of my guests prefer their lamb more “well” whereas others like it more rare.

6. Remove and transfer to a cutting board. Slice according to the bone, and serve with mashed potatoes, asparagus, or your side of choosing!

 

 

Eat with all of your heart,

 

G

“Béchamel” Pumpkin Pasta

 

 

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Pumpkin, Pleadings, & Pasta. October will be featuring all kinds of fun ways to dress up the basic ingredient of pumpkin!

 

Today’s feature is something I whipped up when I was craving a festive pasta alfredo. Now, a few words on alfredo. Since I eat dairy free, it’s not something I can enjoy regularly. Further, it’s usually calorie ridden, heavy, and isn’t the most authentic Italian cuisine.

 

Enter bechamel. For those of you that don’t know what a bechamel sauce is, it’s actually a foundational component of a lot of french cooking.  Traditionally it is a roux of butter and flour cooked in milk, and infused with herbs sometimes.

 

I started with a bechamel-esque base (for those purists, it’s far from the original since I used almond milk and not a lot of butter), and built from there. The result was light and satisfying, yet comforting. It makes for a great addition to a cozy fall evening.

 

“Béchamel” Pumpkin Pasta

By Pleadings & Pasta 2013

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup of pumpkin puree

2-3 oz of goat cheese

1 tablespoon of butter

1.5 tsp of flour

Several cloves of garlic

A few springs of fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

a dash of cinnamon

Pasta of your choice

 

1. Melt butter and whisk in flour. Add garlic cloves (crushed)

2. Heat through for 2 minutes then add almond milk and rosemary and bring to a boil

3. Once fragrant, add pumpkin puree and simmer until thickened.20131003-185523.jpg

4. Add goat cheese at the end, salt and pepper to taste and whisk smooth.

 

 

20131003-185536.jpg5. Boil pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and add immediately into the “bechamel” pumpkin sauce.

6. Serve hot and enjoy!

Feel free to test run the recipe with other herbs too, including sage which is always a nice compliment to pumpkin.

Eat with all of your heart,

G

Mac and Goat Cheese

Sometimes the 10 year old inside of me craves a big, heaping bowl of Mac n’cheese.

It’s then that the adult in me reminds me that although satisfying in the moment, I won’t feel so good afterwards.

So, to satisfy my craving for this indulgent comfort food, I whip up a healthier and more lactose friendly version I like to call Mac and Goat Cheese.

Mac and Goat Cheese

By Pleading and Pasta 2013

2 small logs of goat cheese (one herbed and one regular)

1/4 cup of almond milk

1 lb of pasta (I like elbow macaroni but you can sub your favorite cut including whole wheat and gluten free varieties)

1 package of sweet cherry tomatoes (or some from your garden!)

1 cup of chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.

2. Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente.

3. Strain the pasta. Leave in colander and put the pot back on low to medium heat. Add almond milk and goat cheese. Stir until somewhat melted then add pasta, tomatoes, and basil.

4. Keep stirring until fully incorporated.

5. Serve hot and enjoy!

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This dish is quick, easy, and really hits the spot. Mix it up with different flavors of goat cheese or other garnishes!

Eat with all of your heart,

G

Lime Glazed Sweet Potatoes

photo 3When I think of sweet potatoes I usually imagine changing leaves outside, snuggling into a warm sweater, and gearing up for the holidays. However, this nutritious staple can be eaten year round, and when dressed up with a summer twist, it hits the spot just right!

Lime Glazed Sweet Potatoes

1 lime

3 tbsps honey

olive oil

cilantro to taste

salt/pepper

3 large sweet potatoes

  1. After washing, cut the potatoes into very thin strips. I prefer them to be thinner because they cook quicker on the stove top. Leave skins on if you prefer.
  2. On medium heat, warm olive oil (enough to lightly cover the pan) and add sweet potatoes. Sautee for 5-7 minutes until cooked.
  3. In bowl, mix honey, lime, cilantro, and salt and pepper.
  4. Throw mixture into the sautee pan with the sweet potatoes and stir continuously until coated and the liquid evaporates. Make sure not to leave it or else it may burn with the sauce.
  5. After a couple minutes, remove from heat and serve!

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This side dish pairs nicely with a light seafood dish, or is great all by itself!

Eat with all of your heart,

G

Baked Orange Chicken

 

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Keeping up with the trend of food I crave, and decided to learn how to make, here is a recipe for homemade baked orange chicken.

The kicker on this recipe, is that you actually forget halfway through eating it that it’s pretty good for you in comparison to its deep fried counterpart. I served this recipe on a bed of quinoa instead of rice to make it even healthier. The quinoa nicely soaked up the rich and tangy orange sauce and made for a delightful and light meal!

 

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Baked Orange Chicken

Pleadings & Pasta 2013

4 chicken breasts, cut into cubes

Panko bread crumbs

salt and pepper

One egg, beaten

Sauce:

1/4 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

2 tablespoons Sriracha

1 teaspoon cornstarch (or 2 teaspoons flour) to thicken the sauce.

 

  1. Mix panko, salt, and pepper into a bowl.
  2. Take the cubed raw chicken and dunk it in the beaten egg mixture.
  3. Then take the chicken and dip it into the panko mixture and place on an oiled cookie sheet.
  4. Continue until all are done and put in the oven at 400 degrees. Cook approximately 15 minutes until the panko is niceand crispy and the chicken is cooked within. Place the stove on broil quickly if you need to give the panko an extra crisp.
  5. Remove from oven.
  6. Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients except the corn starch into a pan to boil. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then add the corn starch and keep stirring until the sauce thickens. (Feel free to double this recipe if you want it really saucy!)
  7. Mix the baked chicken tenders into the sauce, and serve immediately over rice or quinoa.

 

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I loved the sauce so much, I decided to pour the rest on top!

 

Eat with all of your heart,

 

G