A Menu to Shine Light into the Darkness

Today is the beginning of my Spring Break. There is nothing Spring about it really, it is cloudy and ridiculously cold. So to cheer me up, I created tonight’s menu full of flavors that will spark light into my taste bud’s and throughout my insides in order to overcome the darkness which resides outside.

I will start with a Roscato Wine Rosso Dolce Italia 2010 (SPEC’s Key Club referral code q66m6nge0z) a new found favorite from my birthday dinner last night at RedHawk GastroPub (pictured right). I will pair this with a Fresh Baked Signature SELECT Artisan French Bread topped with Magnolia Table’s Garlic-Chive Compound Butter. Dinner will be a Brushetta Pasta and a versatile yet simple family favorite Walnut & Grape Salad. Last but not least, we will finish with a new dessert recipe, Cannoli Dip served with Eggo Liege Maple Waffles. I feel the heaviness from the weather begin to remove itself just by writing about it!

Garlic – Chive Compound Butter

Source: Magnolia Blog
Course: Sauces, Scratch & Condiments
Makes: 9 Tablespoons

What You Will Need

  • salted butter, at room temperature
  • chopped fresh chives
  • garlic cloves, minced

What You Will Need To Do

  1. In a small bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the chives and garlic and continue to beat until fully incorporated.
  2. Roll the butter into a 5- to 6-inch log on waxed paper or plastic wrap (if necessary, chill the butter 30 to 45 minutes to firm before shaping), then wrap, twist the ends to secure, and refrigerate.

Brushetta Pasta

Source: Pampered Chef
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Makes: 6 Servings

What You Will Need

  • spaghetti noodles
  • chicken, or vegetable broth
  • small plum tomatoes
  • loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • fresh Parmesan cheese

What You Will Need To Do

  1. Break the spaghetti noodles in half and place them in the Rockcrok® Dutch Oven.
  2. Add the broth.
  3. Microwave, covered, on HIGH for 8 minutes.
  4. Cut the tomatoes and basil into large pieces on the Flexible Cutting Mat and add to Food Processor.
  5. Press the garlic with the Garlic Press into the Food Processor.
  6. Add the olive oil and process all the ingredients until they’re chopped, scraping down the sides as needed.
  7. Remove the Rockcrok® from the microwave, then stir the noodles and broth with the Large Chef’s Tongs.
  8. Add the bruschetta mixture and return the Rockcrok® to the microwave for an additional 8 minutes.
  9. Grate the fresh Parmesan cheese over the pasta using the Microplane® Adjustable Coarse Grater.
  10. Stir and serve.

Walnut & Grape Salad

Source: Jeanie Jo Original
Course: Salads
Makes: As many servings as you need

What You Will Need

  • romaine lettuce
  • chopped walnuts
  • red or green grapes, halved
  • Italian dressing

What You Will Need To Do

  1. Chop walnuts.
  2. Half Grapes
  3. Cut up lettuce into bite sized pieces.
  4. Stir in serving bowl.
  5. Top with dressing.

Cannoli Dip

Source: Belly Full
Course: Desserts
Makes: 10 servings

What You Will Need

  • mascarpone cheese
  • full-fat ricotta cheese, (drained of any excess liquid)
  • powdered sugar
  • heavy whipping cream
  • vanilla
  • orange zest, optional

Add Ins

  • miniature chocolate chips

Delicious Dippers

  • waffle cones, pizzelle, pretzels, or fresh fruit, for serving

What You Will Need To Do

  1. Place the top 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat until completely combined and creamy. (If the texture seems too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it seems too thick, use a bit more cream. Keep it mind it will thicken as it sits and chills.)
  3. Add in chocolate chips and fold.
  4. Serve right away or chill for later.
  5. Delicious dippers include waffle cones, pizzelle, pretzels, or fresh fruit.

Jeanie Jo Menu Notes:

  • Make sure to have room temperature butter at the time of preparation. Southern Living suggests, ” To soften butter, we recommend leaving it on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes to an hour.” Sally’s Baking Addiction adds, ” Room temperature butter is cool to the touch and about 65°F. When you press it, your finger will make an indent. Your finger won’t sink down into the butter, nor will your finger slide all around.
  • Make sure the wine is chilled for dinner. Food & Wine states that “in the fridge, it took 2.5 hours for red wine to reach its ideal temperature of 55° and 3 hours for white wine to reach its ideal temperature of 45°.” (check out the post for suggestions on cooling in the freezer and in an ice bucket).
  • Enjoy the wine after it has been able to breathe. Oregon Coast Winery says, ” This breathing process—known as oxidation—helps to soften the flavors and releases its aromas. Most red and white wines will improve when exposed to air for at least 30 minutes in a decanter (SPEC’s Key Club referral code q66m6nge0z). Dinner prep will take a little over 30 minutes, so I will be taking out the bottle of wine first.
  • I am only using the Garlic – Chive Compound Butter for two nights this week (5 servings) so I am making the butter and chilling it in the fridge so this will happen second.
  • Third, I will create the Cannoli Dip and place in the fridge so that it will be chilled for after dinner.
  • Fourth, I will preheat the oven to 350 to warm the French Bread.
  • Fifth, I will start the Brushetta Pasta.
  • Sixth, I will warm the french bread. The best way to reheat French bread is in the oven, says Pantry & Larder. Set your oven to 350°F. Dampen the crust with a spray of water or run it under the tap. Wrap the bread loosely in foil and place it on the oven rack. Heat the French bread for 5-10 minutes – removing the foil for the last 2 minutes to crisp the crust.
  • Seventh, I will make the salad during the last 8 minutes of cooking the Brushetta Pasta (step 8).
  • Eighth, remove Cannoli Dip from fridge and warm the Liege Waffles using the package instructions.

What do you serve to bring light to those dark and gloomy days? Let me know in the comments below.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Until next time ….

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