Monthly Archives: January 2019

Sausage, Bean and Spinach soup…

photo jan 28, 7 18 49 pm sausage bean soup with mini ravioli

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Hi Everyone, 

Since most of the country will be experiencing the polar vortex this weekend, here is a soup to warm you up.

Sausage, Bean and Spinach Soup!

More like a meal in a bowl. I hope you give it a try.

It is filled with sausage, red kidney beans, canellini beans, tomatoes, spinach and an extra touch of mini cheese filled ravioli.

(The ravioli can be found at Trader Joe’s).

photo jan 29, 1 44 43 pm mini ravioli

Ingredients:

  • 2- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 links of sausage (hot or sweet- your choice), casings removed
  • 2 small onions, diced (I used one yellow and one red)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken stock
  • two (14.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (I removed the beans and some liquid from half a can and mashed them to add some thickness to the soup- totally optional)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped and washed (10 oz frozen thawed and drained spinach can be substituted)
  • 1-pint grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional) * I think this makes a big difference
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated cheese or more
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. butter (makes it velvety)
  • mini cheese filled ravioli or any small pasta can be substituted – orzo,  or mini farfalle – any quantity you choose.

Instructions:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium; add the sausage and cook until lightly browned and crispy, about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the onions to the hot oil, season with some salt and pepper and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes and tomato paste and cook for 1-minute coating the onions with the tomato paste.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of red wine to the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the sausage. Add the remaining stock, beans, spinach, bay leaves, grape tomatoes, rosemary, thyme and Parmesan rind, if using. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Fish out the bay leaves, herb stems and Parmesan rind; add in the cooked sausage, heavy cream, butter and grated cheese, and cook until soup starts to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes more.
  6. Taste for seasoning.
  7. I separately cook mini pasta and add it to the soup before serving.

I serve this with a slice of crusty bread and a little bit of Dubliner cheese melted on top.

(Dubliner cheese is imported by Kerrygold and tastes like a nutty cheddar cheese).

Stay warm and stay safe.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I Love hearing from you.

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Happy 4th Blogiversary!

 

photo jan 26, 12 06 13 am congrats extra

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Hi everyone,

Well it’s that time of year again, time to celebrate another anniversary for DishingwithDiane.com

Hard to believe that DishingwithDiane is

Four Years Old !

photo jan 26, 12 03 46 am (1) blogiversary cake

 Four years have flown by so quickly. I absolutely love sharing my recipes, tablescapes, family events and stories.

The more members we have just makes the DishingwithDiane family bigger and better. I deeply appreciate every member.

I wish I could thank each and every one of you in person for signing up to become a member and showing so much love and support for this blog. 

I hope that over the course of four years I have helped you in some way. Perhaps a new recipe that has become a family favorite or new ideas for your tablescapes for parties and holidays. Whatever it is, it has been a labor of love for me.

Please continue to ask your family and friends to like, share, comment and join DishingwithDiane, as we head into year number Five.

******

So let the celebration begin and lets start an anniversary tablescape for our

Fourth Anniversary. 

photo jan 25, 11 58 45 pm (1) 2019 sign

I knew from the day I bought these dishes that I wanted to use them for my 4th anniversary tablescape. They are pretty versatile. They can be used for any winter celebration and even for a Christmas luncheon.

I think what attracted me to these dishes was the black & white harlequin pattern, absolutely one of my favorite patterns. And they are designed by one of my favorite artists, Susan Winget.

I have been obsessed with black and white in fashion and home decor for many years. I think I fell in love with the bold look of black & white once I saw My Fair Lady and they had the Black and White Ball.

Does anyone remember seeing the movie and how stunning Audrey Hepburn looked in this ensemble?

Photo courtesy of Arktimes.com
c1d31abaaadc71a01ab085ef71b781e2 my fair lady black and white

 She has always been a favorite actress of mine.

Back to the dishes…

The dinner plate is very festive and it has the black and white harlequin pattern as the border with an accent of amber and burgundy at the edge of the plate. The center of the dinner plate is white framed in an array of fruits in tones of burgundy, amber and green finished with a red bow. Almost looks like a wreath of fruit.

photo jan 25, 11 48 58 pm dinner plate

The salad plate also has the harlequin border with an amber and burgundy edge and each plate features one of the fruits displayed on the dinner plate in the center.

photo jan 25, 11 47 58 pm salad plate two

photo jan 25, 11 48 29 pm (1) salad plate one

Unfortunately for me this set does not come with soup bowls, only small ice cream bowls which I chose not to buy. I did purchase the mugs along with a small harlequin rectangular tray (12 X 6) with handles and the creamer and sugar bowl

photo jan 25, 11 50 22 pm creamer and mugsphoto jan 25, 5 53 39 pm rectangular tray

I am starting my tablescape with a solid black tablecloth with a woven square pattern. Very basic but I needed the pattern to add something to the table. I think a plain solid tablecloth would be too dull.

photo jan 26, 1 17 57 am tablecloth

Along with the black tablecloth, I had to add my black and white harlequin table runner.  I originally bought this table runner to decorate a table at Halloween for bowls of candy for trick or treaters. 

Photo Jan 25, 5 59 39 PM  RUNNER.jpg

Now for the placemats and chargers. This tablescape needed an accent color from the plates, so I am using a red woven placemat. This will add a pop of color and match the bow on the dinner plate.

photo jan 25, 11 42 49 pm placemat

I didn’t want to add any additional color to the tablescape so I am using clear glass chargers. They dress up the table without taking away from the table linens.

photo jan 25, 5 59 54 pm charger

When I purchased the table runner I also purchased the matching napkins and I am so glad that I did. They work perfectly on the table and I decided to use a pearl napkin ring. I love the combination and I am using pearls in my centerpiece.

photo jan 25, 5 58 46 pm napkin and pearl ring

My flatware is absolutely fantastic! I was gifted this set of black and white harlequin cutlery and I love it. My son’s girlfriend gave me this set because she knows how much I love black and white and the harlequin pattern. There couldn’t be better flatware for this tablescape.

photo jan 25, 5 58 08 pm

Now the glassware. Since there is always a dessert and prosecco celebration for the anniversary, I am using my Waterford crystal flute glasses.

photo jan 25, 5 57 25 pm flute

photo jan 25, 11 51 23 pm prosecco

My centerpiece is the crystal vase that matches the stemware and I filled the vase with black and white silk flowers and a few pearl sprays to accent the flowers and coordinate with the napkin rings.

photo jan 25, 11 40 51 pm centerpiece

For the first time I am using water jewels as a vase filler. These are water absorbing polymer that grows larger the more you hydrate them. When the water evaporates the beads shrink and can be saved in an airtight container for another project.

Normally, I would use these beads for fresh flowers, but I wanted to try them on silk to help the flower stems stay exactly where I wanted them.

Here is the picture of the water jewels I purchased…

(Found at Michael’s Art’s & Crafts).

photo jan 25, 11 33 26 pm (1) water jewels

My table accents are candles of course and I am using mercury glass votive holders to complete the table along with black, gray and white glass gem table scatter.

photo jan 25, 11 44 14 pm candles and scatterq

My cake stand is clear glass at the base with a crackled pattern for the cake stand top. It actually reminded me of the water jewels in the vase.

photo jan 25, 11 42 27 pm cake stand

Now, what is a celebration without a cake? This year I asked for a harlequin print on the cake and I had to go to two bakeries before anyone would accept the challenge. It seems that black frosting is a color that isn’t asked for very much. 

I finally found a bakery willing to try and I think they did a great job. I even kept the filling simple to make it easier for them- just yellow cake and chocolate pudding (can’t go wrong with basic).

And now the finished cake served by candlelight…

photo jan 26, 1 16 16 am table and candlelight

photo jan 26, 12 07 45 am (1) cake with candle

I wanted to add a second accent to the table and decided on some fresh fruit that was featured on the salad plate. I used a white ceramic fruit bowl with pears, apples and grapes. 

(Bob said this looks like a painting).

photo jan 25, 11 40 02 pm fruit bowl

Table Setting

photo jan 25, 6 00 44 pm place setting

And now, Bob and I will have our traditional toast to another great year along with a toast to all the members of DishingwithDiane that make my dream of having this blog come true.

Thank you

photo jan 26, 1 26 24 am cake and toast

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I Love hearing from you.

4th blogiversary - use

Pasta with Peas (Pasta Piselli)

photo jan 08, 6 46 17 pm pasta piselli with cream sauce

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Hi Everyone, 

I hope all your decorations are put away and you have recovered from the holidays and have begun a wonderful, happy, healthy New Year!

A lot of people start diets this month or they just want to start incorporating meatless meals into their diet and I have the perfect recipe.

I posted a picture of this meal on my personal Facebook page and received many requests for the recipe, so I decided to post it for all of my members.

If you want an easy, quick meal, this is for you.

The dish is “Pasta Piselli” or pasta with peas.

I call it comfort food- Italian style.

When I first got married, my mother told me to always have the ingredients to make pasta piselli in the house because it can be whipped up in no time for the nights you are tired, can’t think of what to make for dinner or just need something quick.

I took my mothers advice and it has come in handy on many occasions. 

The original recipe has only six ingredients plus seasonings.

Below is the recipe that my mother taught me.

___________________________________________________________________

Ingredients:

1 lb. ditalini pasta or small shells

Extra virgin olive oil to slightly coat the bottom of a saucepan

Small red onion, finely chopped

3 cloves minced garlic

2 cans sweet peas, with their juice

Salt & pepper to taste

red pepper flakes

Freshly grated cheese – your choice (I use Locatelli)

Instructions:

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente- follow package directions.

Drain pasta and reserve one cup of pasta water, set aside.

Heat oil in another large pot. Stir in the diced onion and a pinch of salt.

Sauté for a few minutes and add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1-2  minutes.

When the onion is soft, add 2 cans of peas and their juice.

When peas are heated through, add the drained pasta to the pea mixture and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning of salt and pepper.

Take off the heat and add grated cheese and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

If the pasta looks to dry for your liking add a little pasta water or chicken broth- 1 tbsp at a time.

Serve with more grated cheese.

____________________________________________________________________________

For those of you who know me, you know I have to tweak a recipe and I decided to tweak this recipe and make it

Pasta Piselli with a Cream Sauce. 

So this is my new version of this dish… The photo above is this new version, but the original is fabulous as well.

____________________________________________________________

Ingredients:

1 lb box of medium shell pasta or ditalini pasta or any small pasta (I used penne)

8 TBSP mascarpone cheese * (Mascarpone cheese is Italian cream cheese)

1 can low sodium sweet peas, rinsed and drained

Small bag (10 oz) of frozen peas

1 medium red onion (sliced)

3-4 cloves garlic (minced)

2 Dorot brand cube of crushed garlic (found in Trader Joe’s frozen section- photo below).

½ tsp garlic powder

Salt & pepper to taste

Olive oil

3 TBSP of grated cheese (or more to taste)

Reserve 1- 2 cups of the pasta water

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

In the meantime, in a large skillet or saucepan add olive oil to slightly cover the bottom of the pan.

Add the sliced onion and a pinch of salt and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic, frozen garlic cubes and red pepper flakes and saute for approx. 2-3 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and add both the drained cans of peas and the frozen peas, turning slightly and gently not to smash them, only heat them.

Add the mascarpone cheese to melt and make a sauce.

When the pasta is cooked, reserve 1- 2 cups of the pasta water and set aside.

Drain the pasta and add to the peas & sauce in the pan and mix gently.

Add your seasonings-  salt, pepper, garlic powder plus grated cheeses and 3 TBSP of the pasta water. Mix well and set aside for 1-2 minutes to blend all the flavors.

If you feel the pasta is too dry, add a TBSP at a time of the pasta water to the desired texture, otherwise this dish is complete.

Can be served with additional grated cheese (to taste).

Save the remaining pasta water in a jar. You will need it to heat up the pasta piselli leftovers.

_________________________________________________________________________

This is the crushed garlic cube that I use…


photo jan 09, 4 11 48 pm crushed garlic cube__________________________________________________________________

I hope you try this recipe and add it to your meatless meals.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, I Love hearing from you.