Cooking with Katie


Chicken Cannelloni with Panzanella Salad

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This is one of my new favorite dinners, it’s so easy, and it is absolutely delicious! It’s also really fun to make…you get to use your hands, which always makes me feel like I’m a little kid playing with my food. Plus, there are so many bright, robust flavors in this show-stopper stuffed pasta, and the cool salad on the side is a nice change-up to the traditional garden salad. I promise that you’ll love it!

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We received this cookbook from some friends of my dad’s as a thank you present, and I have to say that I absolutely love it! It’s Bonnie Aeschliman’s Cooking with Bonnie: Farm to France, and it is full of fresh, healthy, incredible food. This recipe is actually from this book as well as the salad.

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This salad is SO SO good!

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And doesn’t this look heavenly!? Ahh, I cannot not wait to try out every recipe in this book! I definitely recommend it to everybody, but let’s get back to the main dish now!

Chicken Cannelloni with Panzenella Salad (Farm to France)

Chicken Cannelloni:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 red  bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 15 oz. carton of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 8 oz. shredded Mont. Jack cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. dried basil or 3 tbsp. fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano or 2 tsp. fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound cooked chicken breast
  • 12 to 16 manicotti shells, cooked and drained
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 6 tbsp. flour
  • 2 1/4 c milk
  • 1 1/2 c chicken broth
  • salt and red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 3 c mozzarella cheese

Panzanella Salad

  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic (optional)
  • 6 cups of crusty bread cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 6 tbsp. parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 2 c chopped romaine lettuce
  • sliced onion (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar

For the cannelloni: Saute the garlic, onion, red pepper, celery, and green onions in the olive oil until tender. Combine it with the ricotta, egg, Monterey jack cheese, parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, and chicken in a large mixing bowl. Then melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook until bubbly. Add milk, chicken broth, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce boils and is thickened. Stir in the remaining parmesan cheese off the heat. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and spread a thin layer of parmesan sauce over the bottom of 2 13×9 pans. Split each cooked pasta tube in half and place about a 1/3 c of filling along the pasta. Roll it up to enclose and place seam-side down in the pans. Pour the remaining parmesan sauce over the cannelloni and cover with mozzarella cheese. BAke for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Serve with marinara sauce. Makes 16 servings.

For the salad: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and combine the olive oil with the garlic. Heat it for 15 seconds in a microwave safe glass just to infuse the olive oil. Pour this over the bread cubes, along with the salt and pepper, and cheese. Bake them on a baking sheet, stirring once or twice, for 8-9 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container. Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, romaine, onion, basil, and parsley. Add the croutons and toss well. Combine the garlic, olive oil, and vinegar and drizzle over the salad. Toss to coat.

Be sure to follow me on instagram-cookingwithkatie and Pinterest-cookwithkatie

BTW, this is not a paid advertisement. This is just a great cook book that I thought you all would enjoy!

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Black Bean Salsa

Summer is finally here, and, if you live in Texas too, then you know how hot it already is! I wish the heat would just wait a little while, and not bombard us right at the beginning of June! Oh well, I guess I just have to sit around in the AC and pray for December to come, when it gets somewhat cooler! *sniffle*

At least I’ll have this salsa to suffer through the high temperatures with me! It’s so cool and refreshing and it’s stocked full of healthy summer veggies! Corn, tomatoes, and avocados make this salsa irresistible and it’s a great crowd pleaser at barbeques and cook-outs. I hope it helps you beat the heat!

Black Bean Salsa

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 lb. grape tomatoes
  • 2 avocados
  • cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • salt and pepper

Put the corn in a pot of boiling water and let it cook for about 3-5 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cob and put them in a bowl with the black beans. Cut the tomatoes into bite-size pieces and do the same with the avocados. Add them, the lime juice, salt and pepper, chopped jalapeno, and chopped cilantro to the bowl and stir it together. Put it in the fridge for at least a half hour to let it sit and develop flavor, and then serve it with corn chips.


Greek Salad

Whenever someone says “salad”, I always imagine people are thinking, “Oh great, what kind of boring salad am I going to be eating this time?” But salads don’t have to be boring, especially if they’re full of different textures and flavors. They also don’t have to be complicated, and are a great way to use up your leftovers. That’s how I came up with this salad, I used some left over ingredients from a salad we had had a few days ago, and I used a couple of ingredients that I always have on hand. It was a huge hit and so easy to throw together and I’m sure you’re family will love it, too!

Greek Salad
-Mixed Greens
-Sun dried Tomatoes, chopped
-Calamata Olives, halved
-Feta Cheese
-Cucumber, sliced
-Roasted Red Peppers, sliced
-Lemon juice (1 lemon)
-Shallot, diced
-Olive oil (2-3 tbsp.)
-Salt and pepper
-Sugar (1-2 tsp.)

Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, shallot, and sugar to make the dressing. Just keep tasting it to adjust it to your likings. Then combine all the other ingredients in a big bowl and toss with the dressing. Enjoy!


Gardening Tips! Brussels Sprouts

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I’ve decided to start something new on my blog, Gardening Tips! Last spring, my family and I thought it would be fun to start a garden in our backyard, and we grew so many delicious fruits and veggies. So I thought that with the spring season coming up, I would start sharing some tips and tricks to having a vegetable garden. First up, our Brussel Sprout Experience!

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This is a Brussel sprout plant. We let ours get a little out of control and didn’t pick the ones at the bottom soon enough, though. To have an even more healthy and productive plant, tie them up to stakes so that they stand up tall and check on them regularly to pick off the ones growing at the bottom. They probably won’t be good to eat, but you’ll want to pick them off anyway.

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These sprouts are actually growing new brussels sprout plants right now, which is the outcome of us not picking them soon enough. 🙂 This is good for this spring, though, because we’ll have new plants!

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These brussels sprouts are not good to eat!

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These are the ones you want to eat!

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Just use a knife to cut them away from the stem and then give them a good rinse once you get inside!

My mom just steamed these brussels sprouts and we always eat them by dipping them in vinegar. I know it sounds weird, but that’s how my mom’s grandparents taught her and that’s the only you’ll ever get any of us kids to go near them! I’ll try to post more gardening tips these next few months,so enjoy!


Roasted Tomato and Asparagus Risotto

I first had risotto at a fancy, gourmet restaurant on a “dinner date” with my dad in downtown Fort Worth a few years ago. (I know, a 12-year-old chooses a fancy, risotto-serving place for her date….she’s got good taste! 🙂 ) Anyway, I ordered the asparagus and prosciutto risotto and immediately fell in love with it! It was so creamy and dreamy and flavorful! I’ve always been too intimidated to actually make it myself, though. But as it turns out, as long as you allow yourself plenty of time, it’s super easy!

“Risotto” is actually just a method for cooking rice. The type of rice we use is very starchy, and as the rice releases its starch, it creates this beautiful, creamy sauce. Once you learn the method, you can make whatever kind of risotto you want! Mushrooms, squash, broccoli, carrots, meats, and other sturdy vegetables would all be wonderful choices!

Roasted Tomato and Asparagus Risotto

  • olive oil
  • asparagus
  • grape or cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5-6 c chicken stock
  • 1 -1 1/2 c arborio rice
  • 1/3-1/2 c white wine
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2-2/3 c parmesan cheese

Start with the asparagus. Lay it on a sheet tray, drizzle it with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roll it around to coat. Roast it in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. You just want it to be soft and caramelized. Do the same with the tomatoes.

Set the vegetables on a plate and keep them on standby. (BTW, this is a great way to use up those tomatoes that aren’t looking so good anymore!) Pour your chicken stock in a pan and bring it to a simmer. It’s VERY important that you have hot chicken stock!

This is arborio rice. It’s very starchy and is one of the only rices that works for risotto. If you can’t find arborio, then you can use vialone nano, carnaroli, or originario rice.

Finely mince the onion and saute it in some olive oil with salt and pepper just until it’s softened.

Then, add the rice and let it toast for a few minutes.

Then grab some white wine. Pinot Grigio is said to be the best cooking wine, so that’s what I always use.

Just pour it in the pan until the rice is almost covered with wine. I just eyeball it.

Don’t hover over your risotto and constantly stir it, just stir every 5-8 minutes. Once all the liquid is absorbed, start adding chicken stock by the ladelful until the rice is almost covered. Stir it every so often and let the rice cook and release its starches. When all the liquid is absorbed, add more chicken stock by the ladelful until the rice is fully cooked. (You’ll need to taste it every so often.) I used about 5 cups of chicken stock in the end, but it really just depends on how much rice you use.

Once the rice is creamy and fully cooked, add the vegetables back in just to heat them through.

Now this is the secret to really good risotto: Add a few tablespoons of butter and a ton of parmesan cheese and stir them into the risotto. What you end up with is the smoothest, creamiest risotto that you and your family will love! Bon Appetit!


Alfredo Pasta with Chicken and Veggies

This dinner was inspired by a beautiful dish I had at our local Central Market cafe; it was penne pasta with chicken, zucchini, and yellow squash swimming in a velvety, smooth alfredo sauce. I loved every second of it, and I knew that I just had to recreate the dish at home! Thus, this beautiful pasta was born! And who knew it would taste even better than the one at the cafe?!?! The combination of the rich sauce, smoky vegetables, and succulent chicken makes this to die for. Enjoy this one, guys!

Alfredo Pasta with Chicken and Veggies

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 box of button mushrooms
  • 8-10 stalks of asparagus
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 3 c heavy cream
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c mozzarella cheese
  • a handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Slice all the veggies except the asparagus.

Then, put the zucchini, squash, and asparagus in a bowl with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill them until they’re tender and cooked through. (You could also roast or saute them.) When they’ve cooled down enough, cut them into bite-size pieces.

In the meantime, put the mushrooms on a sheet tray and drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.

Grill the chicken until it is cooked through. Then once it’s cool enough to handle, shred it and put it on standby. Cook the pasta, as well. 

For the alfredo sauce, combine the heavy cream and butter in a saute pan and whisk them together until the butter melts. Add the parmesan and mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper, and parsley and whisk it until the cheese melts. Add the veggies, chicken, and pasta into the pan and toss it to coat. Serve alongside crusty ciabatta bread and enjoy!


Israeli Couscous Salad with Spicy Toasted Chickpeas

Israeli coucous….sounds exoctic, right? Well actually, it’s pretty easy to find at local grocery stores, nowadays, and is just a bigger version of regular couscous. It’s a type of pasta, and if you’re like me, then that right there will tell you that it’s fabulous!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, who would chickpeas in a pasta dish? But trust me, they turned out to be one of the best components in the dish! They give that right amount of kick from the cayenne and add this really meaty texture, along with the crunch of the fresh veggies. If you’re looking for a light, summery side dish, then try this recipe!

Israeli Couscous Salad (Little House of Veggies)

  • 2 c Israeli Couscous
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 1/2 c green olives
  • 1/2 c black olives
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp. oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Spicy Toasted Chickpeas

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • a good pinch of salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper

Cook the couscous according to the package directions with the olive oil and salt, then add the veggies and the dressing.

For the chickpeas, heat the oil in a pan, then add the chickpeas and the seasonings. Toast for 3-4 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then fold into the salad. You can refrigerate before serving or serve at room temperature.


Pasta Prima Vera

This is a classic Italian bistro dish that is SO easy to make at home! You basically just take all of your favorite vegetables and combine them with any long-noodle pasta and…wah-la! You’ve got yourself pasta prima vera!

Now, since this dish is basically just noodles and vegetables, I went with a recipe that had more of a sauce consistency. I think you’ll really like how the vegetables give off their own juices and really add to the whole smoothness of this dinner. It is sure to convert anyone with a strict sweet tooth to someone who can’t get enough of their veggies!

I used carrots, red peppers, asparagus, yellow squash, mushrooms, and grape tomatoes. You could use any vegetables you like, though! (Heads up, whenever you see garlic in one of these dishes, just know that I did not use it. My family is not a big garlic fan, but I’m sure everything would be great with it, too!)

Pasta Prima Vera (Ellie Krieger)

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 tbsp. flour, dissolved in 3 tbsp. water
  • salt and pepper
  • linguine pasta (could substitute with fettucine, papardelle, or any other long noodle!)
  • 2 tbsp. parsley
  • 1/4 c basil
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • any combination of veggies you’d like!

Heat oil in a large saute pan and cook garlic for about 1 minute. Add peppers (if using) and cook for about 3 minutes. Add any other vegetables you’re using and saute for about 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in flour/water mixture and add chicken stock, milk, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until the liquid has thickened slightly.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 c of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the vegetables and add the pasta water to thin if necessary. Add parsley and basil and serve with parmesan cheese. Bon appetite!