When my kids were growing up they loved Chicken Divan ~ boneless chicken, Green Giant frozen cheesy broccoli, a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, more cheese, all baked into creamy deliciousness and served over a bed of rice. Even my husband loved that dish. How often does it happen everyone is on the same
page plate? I could almost hold my breath in the time it took the make it ~ ideal for nights there were after school activities. Even though I no longer shuttle to and from soccer, cheerleading and drama practice, somehow our lives are still busy! Easy Chicken Dijon is a grown up, fresh version with mushrooms, herbs and another layer of flavor with the addition of Dijon mustard and guess what? It’s ready in under 30 minutes and so delicious no one even misses the cheese.
I love shopping at my local farmer’s market so I try to carve out time every weekend to go and my travel companion is always a large to-go mug of hazelnut flavored coffee. I walk to the far end of the market seeing what catches my eye, then slowly stroll back sipping my coffee and make my purchases. A couple of months ago, I tried my first morel mushroom and now I’m hooked ~ and I do mean hooked on them. Morels have a short season and it’s passed, but there are a lot of other wild mushrooms I’m wild about. This Mushroom Pizza has just a handful of ingredients, but is big on flavor thanks to the wild mushrooms.
Last weekend was our annual pilgrimage north for our girls’ shopping and spa weekend in Frankenmuth, Michigan, Frankenmuth is a quaint little town in mid-Michigan also known as Little Bavaria but more importantly known for their world-famous chicken dinners. We kicked off this annual trek with lunch and a cocktail followed by power shopping at the outlet mall in nearby Birch Run. If you’re thinking this activity can’t be topped, the next afternoon was spent at Serendipity Day Spas where we left feeling renewed and absolutely amazing! Sandwiched in between we drank wine and dined on some really great “girl food” ~ charcuterie boards and Lobster Bisque at Prost. It’s a really fun weekend we all look forward to, but I digress. The point of this story ~ yes, it really does have one ~ is that for the last I don’t know how many years, I’ve been wanting to take the plunge into the world of Le Creuset. It’s probably hard to imagine a food blogger, who cooks literally every day of her life doesn’t own a little piece of the Queen of Cookware. This weekend I finally uncurled my fingers from my wallet (because no one would ever confuse the Queen with being a cheap date) and bought this beauty:
I’m not ready to wave the white flag just yet, but this has definitely been a week-from-
hell technology, tr ying to learning some new techy stuff and realizing that while an old dog can be taught new tricks — we learn more slowly . . . and stuff needs to be repeated. . . ’cause we forget. . .often. . .wait, where was I?
Oh yes — the reason I haven’t blogged all week.
— last Saturday before the week-from-
hell tech, I enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the Mt. Clemens Farmers Market because even though I have so.much.produce. from my own garden, I couldn’t resist a trip.
So as I wandered around the farmers market, juggling my oversized to-go mug filled with coffee in one hand and a caramel-pecan Danish purchased at the Mt. Clemens Bakery stand in the other, I found myself with produce envy. Beyond the produce though, one stand I simply can’t pass up is fresh pasta (something I’ve never mastered) and Pasta-e-pasta is one of the best I’ve tasted. They sell a wide variety of pasta (spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli, among others) and enough sauce choices to keep you vacillating as long as I did choosing (finally) the Portabella Mushroom Ravioli.
As a food blogger and self-professed food nerd, I typically like making every part of the meal from scratch. There are some things, however (other than an oil change or re-wiring your house) better left to the professionals — ravioli is one of them.
I did, however pair this ravioli with a homemade, really simple Alfredo Florentine sauce, breaking the traditional Parmesan used in Alfredo in favor of Smoked Gouda (what else?) and Mozzarella. This ravioli cooks in under 5 minutes and even the sauce doesn’t take much longer. It’s also ridiculously delicious and the entire meal will have you sitting at the table asking red or white faster than you can imagine.
- 1 package of pre-made ravioli (from farm mkt or Buitoni brand available in grocery stores)
- Olive oil (drizzle)
- 1 T butter
- 2 gloves of garlic, grated
- 3/4 C smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- 1/2 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 C fresh spinach, stems removed and rough chopped
- 3 T fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 C white wine (most any kind you like to drink, except sweet Moscato)
- 1 1/4 C whole milk
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- When the water reaches a boil, slowly drop in the ravioli. When they float to the surface, remove them from the pan.
- While the water is coming to a boil, begin the sauce with a drizzle of olive oil and melting the butter into a pan.
- Grate in the garlic and add the spinach to the pan, continuing to cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn't burn and allowing the spinach to wilt.
- Pour the wine into the pan. Increase the heat to medium and cook another 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the milk, then incorporate the shredded cheeses, stirring to blend.
- When the mixture is completely blended, mix in the fresh parsley.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Gently add the ravioli to the sauce, turning to coat.
- If you're a super-fan of mushrooms, feel free to chop up a few fresh mushrooms and sauté along with the garlic. I am -- and I did.