oven baked spinach and goat cheese stuffed pork chops

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I love anything that’s dipped in bread crumbs and fried. It’s my weakness. So, lately I’ve been trying to slow down on the pan frying, and increase the oven baked deliciousness that is so much healthier for you. This dish is creamy, juicy, and very filling, and definitely one of my new favorite ways to make pork! I served this dish with some homemade spaghetti with pesto (you can find my pesto recipe here)!

Ingredients

2 boneless pork chops
bread crumbs
small log of goat cheese (I used homemade, will be posting the recipe soon!)
a few handfuls of spinach
a clove of garlic
a shallot
a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise
parmesan

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mince a shallot and a clove of garlic. Brown in a pan and add your spinach. Once the spinach is wilted, and dark green remove from the heat. At this point you can either use the full leaves, or throw the spinach, shallots, and garlic into the food processor to get a nice fine chop.
Slice your pork chop through the center, aka butterfly it, and pound it out so it is nice and thin. Spread your spinach mixture and sprinkle with goat cheese. Roll up the pork chop and tie it with some butchers string. Spread a little bit of mayo over the top and sprinkle with bread crumbs and some parmesan. Bake on a cooling rack, on top of a cookie sheet. This will allow the air to reach all around the pork and will keep it from getting soggy. Bake until it reached 170 degrees, about 30-40 minutes. Serve with your favorite side and enjoy!

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ricotta and leek ravioli with pesto

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I bought myself a pasta roller almost a month ago now- It’s been sitting on my counter, ready to go, but I was too intimidated to use it. Finally today I just went for it! Ravioli has always been one of my favorite foods so I decided I’d try that first. And because I was making fresh pasta, I thought it would be best to make fresh ricotta as well! It’s definitely a time consuming process overall, but very fun, and very worth it!

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Ingredients

Pasta

2-3 cups of all purpose flour
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
tiny pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Ricotta

3 cups of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
pinch of salt
juice of one lemon

Filling

1 cup of ricotta (home made or store bought)
2 caramelized leeks & 1 clove of minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Pesto

a few handfuls of basil (remove stems)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
olive oil

Instructions

Ricotta

Add the heavy cream and milk to a large sauce pan or stock pot. Once it begins to boil and foam, add the juice of one lemon and turn off the stove. Give it a few stirs, and then allow to rest for a couple of minutes and form curds. Once the curds have formed, strain them through a cheese cloth and allow to separate from the whey. Refrigerate once everything is separated and to the desired consistency (for this I’d recommend a slightly thicker or stiffer ricotta).

Pasta

Make a little well in your all purpose flour and carefully crack your eggs into the center. Add the salt, nutmeg, and olive oil and slowly mix, starting with a fork, and then moving to your hands. When everything is combined and not too sticky (you may have to add more flour), split into four pieces. Make each piece into a patty, so it’s thin enough to go through the pasta roller. Continue rolling out until you get a pasta sheet of desired thickness. Put pasta sheets in the fridge while you assemble everything else.

Filling

Dice up your leeks and make sure to thoroughly clean. Add leeks, minced garlic, and a few tablespoons of butter to a sautee pan and allow to cook down until they are a nice golden brown. Once these are complete, you can either keep them at a rough dice, or quick throw them into your food processor to make a little bit more of a paste. Mix this with your ricotta.

Pesto

Add all of your ingredients into a food processor and blend, slowly adding olive oil until it reaches desired consistency.

Assemblage

Take one pasta sheet and dollop a teaspoon or so of filling, and make sure there will be enough room to cut into individual ravioli at the end! Take your second pasta sheet and carefully lay over the top, and lightly press down around the filling to form your ravioli. Cut apart and to make sure the pasta sheets are sealed together, stamp with the end of a fork.

Cook ravioli for 2-3 minutes, or until they float. Gently strain them and drizzle with pesto. Top with a bit of parmesan or romano and enjoy!

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pesto crusted salmon on a bed of quinoa and spinach, with a side of roasted potatoes and mushrooms

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this week i decided to be adventurous and try something new- salmon. although i’ve eaten it before, i had never cooked it by myself and thought, ‘it’s time…’. I browsed through a ton of recipes regarding salmon and they all seemed too complicated and over powering so i did some inventing of my own. this is what i came up with!

Ingredients:
-Pesto (basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, parsley- optional)
-Salmon (filets of steaks will work for this!)
-A bag of small rainbow potatoes
-Sliced mushrooms
-Fresh Spinach
-Quinoa or Mixed Grains

Step One:
Mix up your pesto- for this you don’t need a ton, so grab a few good handfulls of basil, two or three clove of garlic, a few tablespoons of olive oil, a handful of pine nuts, salt and pepper, and if you have any, a bit of fresh parsley. Blend this up so everything is mixed into a paste like consistency. 

Step Two:
Prepare your potatoes and mushrooms- make sure they are rinsed! The potatoes can be roasted whole or cut in half. I coated the potatoes and mushrooms in a couple spoonfuls of the pesto and a bit more olive oil. Throw this in the oven at about 400 degrees.

Step Three:
Prepare your grain- quinoa takes about twenty minutes so you’ll want to get it up to a simmer and cooking while the potatoes are cooking.

Step Four:
The salmon- I coated this in the pesto and a few slices of lemon and grapefruit. I made a little foil pouch/packet to cook it in for the oven and threw it in with the roasting potatoes. Salmon cooking time varies so i checked mine after about eight minutes and then let it cook for another five to eight minutes until it was light pink and flaky all the way through. 

Step Five:
While everything else is cooking, you’re going to want to sauté your spinach. this goes pretty quick so thats why i saved it for last! once all the leaves were wilted down i put some garlic salt and pepper on it for flavor.

i was lucky and managed to time everything just about right so it was done at about the same  time. i served the salmon on the bed of spinach and quinoa, with the potatoes and mushrooms on the side. i also topped the salmon with some avocado slices!

repurposing leftovers!

personally I hate leftovers. Which isn’t good for me considering I’m only cooking for myself. So tonight for dinner since I didn’t have time to do anything, I repurposed my green garden soup!. I added a touch more garlic, basil, and olive oil, and turned it into a pesto! I used thin spaghetti, a dollop of ricotta, and my left over sausage links and it made for the perfect quick dinner!

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