Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

Italian-Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

I love a big, juicy cheeseburger but they can get boring after a while.  This recipe is one that will definitely take away the boredom and might even be one that I can whip out at a tailgate this football season to change it up a bit!

Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • Salt
  • 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausages (or a combination of both), casings removed
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried-tomato pesto
  • 4 round ciabatta rolls, split and toasted

In a large skillet, bring 1/4 inch of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 1 minute; drain and press out as much water as possible. Wipe out the skillet.

In the same skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the spinach, season with salt and stir just until coated, about 10 seconds.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Using slightly moistened hands, form the sausage meat into four 4-inch patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Brush the burgers with oil and grill over moderate heat until browned and crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers. Top with the cheese and grill until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer. Spread the pesto on the rolls. Top with the burgers and spinach and serve.

These burgers would be great paired with a fruit forward zinfandel like a 2015 Sextant Zinfandel Holystone out of Paso Robles, CA or an Artezin 2016 Old Vine Family Farmed Sustainable Zinfandel out of Mendocino County, CA.   #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Cantaloupe, Prosciutto & Arugula Salad

Cantalope-Salad-7576_0

It’s been TOO DAMN HOT to cook this week.  When not wearing out my #DoorDash app, I’ve been looking for as many cold dinner solutions as possible.  I found one I love on Emeril Lagasse’s website: www.emerils.com.

It’s quick & easy to throw together and pairs well with pre-cooked, chilled jumbo shrimp or  maybe a sandwich made from a leftover store-bought rotisserie chicken or deli turkey breast.  Add a glass of perfectly chilled Sauvignon Blanc with melon undertones, like the 2014 Westerly Sauvignon Blanc has, and you have a terrific weeknight meal!

Cantaloupe, Prosciutto, & Arugula Salad

  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or vegetable-olive oil blend
  • 1 tablespoon minced mixed fresh herbs (such as basil, chives, and parsley)
  • 8 ounces fresh arugula, rinsed and spun dry
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cantaloupe, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into thin wedges
  • 6 to 8 thin slices prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces

In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, shallot, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. While continuously whisking, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until completely incorporated. Whisk in the herbs, and set aside while you prepare the salad.

In a large bowl, combine the arugula and red onion. Drizzle in 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Add more vinaigrette to taste, if desired, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.

Arrange the cantaloupe wedges on a large serving plate, top with the arugula salad and the prosciutto. Serve immediately.

**Tip:  Any unused vinaigrette can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to flipflopwineglass2 days.

A nice big pile of this salad and cold glass of Westerly Sauvignon Blanc in my sassy Lolita wine glass is sure to make me feel instantly cooler! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken Saltimbocca with White Wine Sauce

chickensaltimbocaVery reluctantly, I’m back from my week of culinary indulgence. I gorged myself while sipping on every delectable wine I could in Napa and Paso Robles, so it’s back to the kitchen (& the gym) I go.

I adore veal saltimbocca, but have greatly cut back my intake of red meat, even the lighter pink/milky white young beef that is veal.  With this recipe, I’ve kept the flavors, cut some of the fat by using a lean chicken breast, and even snuck in some vegetables.

Some saltimbocca ([saltimˈbokka]; Italian for jumps in the mouth) recipes are fried in olive oil and rely only on pan drippings for their sauce, which I find to be too dry, while others are covered in a heavy creamy – lemony sauce.  I like to use a combination of the preparation methods and a make a lighter wine based sauce with just a kiss of  lemon and cream to make the whole dish a little less guilt-inducing. #GirlsGoneWine

Chicken Saltimbocca with White Wine Sauce

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 oz each)
  • 4-8 thin slices of Prosciutto ham
  • 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach
  • 16 whole leaves fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 TBLS all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1/2 ounce capers
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 TBLS butter
  • 2 TBLS fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  1. Pound the chicken breasts to flatten so they are all roughly the same thickness (3/8 to 1/2 inch).  Lightly salt and pepper.
  2. Squeeze the thawed, frozen spinach to remove the excess water.  In a small bowl, toss the spinach with salt & pepper and 1 tablespoon of oil to coat.
  3. Sprinkle flour on one side of first chicken breast and place flat on your work surface.
  4. On one half of the unfloured side of the chicken, spread 1/4 of the spinach in an even, thin layer. Sprinkle 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese over the spinach and fold the empty side of the chicken over the filled side. chickensamb
  5. Wrap the sliced Prosciutto around the floured side of the chicken, placing leaves of sage between the chicken and the ham as shown.
  6. Follow same steps with remaining chicken breasts until all 4 are ready to cook.
  7. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
  8. Add the butter. When it melts add the wine and lemon juice and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  9. Add the cream, chicken broth, artichoke hearts and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  10. Prepare your Angel Hair pasta while the chicken is simmering.
  11. Remove the chicken & artichoke heart pieces from the pan and cover to keep warm.
  12. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste.
  13. Serve the chicken breasts on a bed of Angel Hair pasta topped with the reduced sauce and garnish with capers if desired.

Enjoy with a chilled glass of the wine you used to make the sauce. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken with Peaches & Ginger

chicken-peaches-gingerI hate the fuzz on fresh peaches but, on a whim, I grabbed a half dozen at the store this week because they smelled so damn good.  Women’s Day Magazine had a recipe that satisfied my criteria for weeknight meals: simple ingredients and under 30 minutes to prepare!  I’m not a fan of couscous, so I mad one minor change to the recipe and substituted quinoa.

Chicken with Peaches & Ginger

  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • (6-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Medium  Fresh (peeled & sliced) or 12 oz. frozen peaches (no need to defrost)
  • 1 TBSP packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • Fresh chopped basil or parsley, for serving
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook on one side until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Flip, cook for 1 minute, then scatter the peaches, sugar, thyme, and ginger over and around the chicken.
  3. Add the white wine, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the peaches are warm and starting to break down at the edges, 6 to 7 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to package directions. Serve the chicken, peaches and sauce over the quinoa and sprinkle with basil or parsley, if desired.

PER SERVING

  • 449 CAL
  • 8 G FAT (1.5 G SAT FAT)
  • 124 MG CHOL
  • 324 MG SOD
  • 44 G PRO
  • 47 G CAR
  • 3 G FIBER

Wine pairing suggestions:

WesterlySauvBlanc14
2014 Westerly Wines

 

Trinitas2014SauvBlanc
2014 Trinitas Cellars

 

alphaomegasauvblanc15
2015 Alpha Omega
ghostblockmorganleesauvblanc15
2015 Ghost Block

Smashed Blackberry Goat Cheese Toasts

Getting ready to have the #GirlsGoneWine over for a Tuesday night #SipSnackAndChat and came across the picture for this dreamy goat cheese #WryToast that just screams to the #WesterlyWineOhs, “Serve me with Westerly Red wine.”

Total prep time is 20 minutes, which makes this an easy weekday treat, plus the jam portion makes enough to feed a crowd and keeps in a sealed container in the refrigerator for two weeks, if you can leave it there that long. 😉

I made a couple of minor adjustments to the original recipe, but nothing drastic.

Smashed Blackberry Goat Cheese Toasts

  • 1 1/2 cups blackberriesBlackberry-Toasts
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp freshly grated orange zest (I added this)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I substituted 1 tsp Grand Marnier® liqueur)
  • 1 1/2 tbsps sugar
  • 3 tbsps water
  • 1 – 2 tsps cornstarch, sifted
  • French Baguette, sliced
  • 8 oz goat cheese (More or Less depending on how many you are serving)
  • fresh mint to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium saucepan combine the blackberries, blueberries, vanilla (Grand Marnier®), sugar, and water (covered) over a medium low flame. Once simmering and the fruit begins to burst (about 5 minutes) gently mash with a fork or potato masher, then whisk in the cornstarch until well incorporated.* Cover once more and simmer over a low flame until needed. (I removed from the heat so that the jam would cool and thicken)
  2. Meanwhile, toast the sliced baguette on a baking sheet in the oven as desired.  I made mine crispy but not crunchy.
  3. When ready, smear each slice with a thick layer of goat cheese, then spoon over with the smashed blackberries. Garnish with mint, then eat!

*add 1 tsp if you want the blackberries more runny, 2 tsps for a thicker texture!

Thankfully the freezer section is stocked with plenty of bagged blueberries, blackberries, and now even a mixed berry with pomegranate option that can make prepping this recipe easy and as easy to change as picking a different bag of frozen fruit! #GirlsGoneWine

Creamy Spinach & Mushroom Gnocchi

creamymushroomspinachgnocciThis recipe is #FastFillingandFlavorful which makes it a perfect weeknight choice.

This dish serves 4-6 and will pair well with a dry white wine like this 93 Point $16, 2015 Casablanca Valley Arboleda Chardonnay from Chile or this 90 Point $22, 2017 La Marea Kristy Vineyard Albariño out of Monterey County on the Central Coast of California.  Open one of these bottles of wine, add a crisp green salad and you’ve got an elegant #MidWeekFeast.

Spinach & Mushroom Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan White Wine Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 12 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 dashes Italian seasoning
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1 pound uncooked potato gnocchi
  • 1 generous handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, to taste
  1. Add the olive oil to a skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the Dijon mustard and white wine. Let it cook for a minute or so.
  4. Add the cream and gnocchi. Wait until the sauce just starts to boil again, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the spinach, cover the pan again, and cook for 3 minutes.
  6. You can add a chopped up cooked chicken breast to this when you are adding the spinach into the sauce if you want to add meat.
  7. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt & pepper. Give it a taste; gnocchi should be soft. If not, continue to cook for another few minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately with more Parmesan cheese grated over top if desired.

For weeknight cooking I am always looking for recipes that combine three criteria:

  1. No exotic or expensive ingredients I have to search high and low for
  2. Ready in thirty minutes or less
  3. Can be made with meat or without

This recipe fit all of these plus two others that make it a winner in my book:

  1. When a main dish recipe can be doubled so it can be a side dish or a lunch later in the week
  2. When one of the ingredients is wine or the finished product naturally pairs with wine #GirlsGoneWine approved! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Artichokes With Roasted Garlic Wine Dip

home-artichokeI love living in Southern California where there is the availability of local fruits and vegetables in the stores, as well as what is trucked and flown in from around the country and from other parts of the world, pretty much year-round.  It really makes cooking and eating fun! #ThisGirlLovesToEat 

One of the few things that I do have to be patient for are artichokes.  Nowhere grows them as big and meaty as we do in California.  In fact, 99.99% of all commercially grown artichokes are grown in California. 

CAF_fest_logo-2017Since I happen to love them, it’s a pretty good thing that Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom named artichokes the Official State Vegetable of California on April 10, 2013.  Artichokes from California are so fabulous that they’ve had their own festival for the past 56 years: Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival.

Some people dip their leaves in mayonnaise (which makes me want to gag), others in various aiolis, dips or other concoctions, but I’ve been a ridiculous creature of habit for as long as I can remember, eating my artichokes one way and one way only: dipping each succulent leaf into a bowl of melted butter.  Occasionally I may deviate in the preparation of the steam that surrounds my artichoke, adding some white wine, maybe some garlic or some lemon to the water, but I never deviate on my buttery leaf bath.  Until now.

This long forgotten recipe I’d clipped from the May 2007 edition of Cooking Light Magazine convinced me to change my ways (at least temporarily).

artichokes-dip-ck-1622453-x

Artichokes With Roasted Garlic Wine Dip

  • 2 whole garlic heads
  • 4 medium artichokes (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat Oven to 400° F.
  2. Remove white papery skin from garlic heads (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap each head separately in foil. Bake at 400° F for 45 minutes; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.
  3. Cut off stems of artichokes, and remove bottom leaves. Trim about 1/2 inch from tops of artichokes. Place artichokes, stem ends down, in a large Dutch oven filled two-thirds with water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until a leaf near the center of each artichoke pulls out easily. Remove artichokes from pan.
  4. Combine half of garlic pulp and wine in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes. Add broth; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in butter and salt. Pour mixture into a blender; add remaining half of garlic pulp. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Sprinkle dip with parsley, if desired. Serve dip with warm artichokes.

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