White Lasagna

White Lasagna is a very rich and indulgent pasta dish with a rosemary, garlic and thyme infused bechamel sauce and lots of Fontina cheese. Serve with crumbled Italian sausage, pesto and sautéed wild mushrooms.

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White Lasagna
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of FoodandWine.com, December 2014)

Serves 10 – 12

1 1/2 boxes of no-boil lasagna noodles
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 fresh thyme sprigs
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 gallon 2% milk
Kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups shredded Fontina cheese
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan

To make the bechamel: Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add onion, rosemary, thyme and garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until the onions are softened but not yet browned, about 6 minutes. Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly, until the roux is light golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes total. Press the sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard the solids. Set aside and allow to cool at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350F.

To assemble the lasagna: Brush a deep 9-by-13 baking dish with oil; spread a layer of sauce in the bottom of the dish. Arrange a layer of pasta over the sauce. Spread another layer of sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle a quarter of each cheese over the sauce. Place another layer of pasta over the cheese. Repeat until all of the sauce and cheese is used with a layer of cheese on top of the lasagna. The lasagna can be assembled a day ahead of time and refrigerated for 24 hours.

Seal the lasagna tightly under aluminum foil. Bake covered for 1 hour. Remove the foil and place 6-inches below the broiler. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes until the top begins to brown taking care not to burn the top. Remove and let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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Beef Bulgogi – Korean Barbecue

Beef Bulgogi is a spicy-sweet Korean barbecue that can be served alone, over rice or as a taco. This same recipe can also be made with pork or chicken.

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Beef Bulgogi – Korean Barbecue
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BonAppetit.com, November 2015)

Makes 6 – 8 servings

1 1/2 lbs. sirloin steak cut into stir-fry strips
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
4 Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp grated peeled ginger
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
Vegetable oil
4 green onions, sliced crosswise on a bias, both green and white parts

Combine the steak and the marinade ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 8 hours before cooking. An hour before cooking remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Working in batches, and adding more oil along the way as needed, remove meat from the marinade and cook in a single layer without moving until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Continue to cook, tossing occasionally until cooked through and crisp at edges, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to serving plate and garnish with sliced green onions.

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Creamy Crab Dip

Creamy Crab Dip is a hot appetizer that will be the hit of any casual gathering or holiday party.

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Creamy Crab Dip
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

16 oz. crab meat
2 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
6 oz. mayonnaise
1/4 red pepper, finely chopped
1/4 large sweet onion, finely chopped
6 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
5-6 dashes of hot sauce, to taste
3 green onions, white parts finely chopped, green parts sliced crosswise and reserved for garnish

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the green onion garnish and pulse until smooth. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with the sliced green onion and serve with crackers, baked pita pieces, or crostini.

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Eggs in Pepper Boats

Eggs in Pepper Boats is a fun way to serve eggs and a healthy way to cook the eggs – think … “no oil or grease”. Baking the eggs takes a little bit longer but it is worth it. This recipe can be adapted to use different meats and cheeses. It can be made without meat altogether. Add some fresh herbs for a twist.

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Eggs in Pepper Boats
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Makes 4 servings

2 large peppers (poblano or cubanelle), halved and seeded
4 large eggs
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 strips applewood smoked bacon, baked to just short of crisp
Hot sauce for serving

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a large skillet over medium heat, place the peppers cut side down in 1/4 inch of water. Cover and simmer for 6 minutes or until the peppers begin to soften. Flip the peppers over and cook for another 4 minutes, taking care not to over cook the peppers. You want them to be firm enough to hold an egg in each of them.

Place the cooked peppers cut side up on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Put a quarter of the cheese in each pepper boat. Top with each with a half strip of bacon. Top each with an egg, taking care to keep the egg within the confines of each boat. Carefully place in the oven and cook until the egg whites are solid and yolks reach preferred doneness, about 6 to 8 minutes for sunny-side-up. Serve immediately with pepper and your favorite hot sauce.

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Savory Waffles with Cheddar Cheese and Dried Basil

Savory Waffles with Cheddar Cheese and Dried Basil don’t need any maple syrup to finish them. Try some sour cream and sliced grape tomatoes or mix a little Sriracha in the sour cream and top with fresh basil leaves.

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Savory Waffles with Cheddar Cheese and Dried Basil
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of InJenniesKitchen.com and Chicago Tribune, 2015)

Makes about (8) 6-inch diameter waffles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose baking mix, see recipe below
2 Tbsp crumbled dried basil
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp canola oil
Reduced fat sour cream for garnish

All-Purpose Baking Mix

In a large bowl, combine 3 3/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp fine sea salt; whisk until blended. Store in a plastic zip-top bag for up to 2 months. Ingredients will settle, so stir or shake before using.

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Lamb Patties with Red Cabbage and Radish Slaw

Lamb Patties with Red Cabbage and Radish Slaw are version of a homemade gyro sandwich with a unique sauce and a flavorful slaw.

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Lamb Patties with Red Cabbage and Radish Slaw
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BonAppetit.com, November 2014)

4 Servings

2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground lamb
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
2 radishes, thinly sliced
4 pita breads

Whisk garlic, yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons oil in small bowl until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside.

Using your hands, gently mix lamb, onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl just to combine. Form into 12 3/4-inch-thick patties. Set aside on a platter.

Toss cabbage, cucumber, radishes and remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside while grilling the patties.

Heat a flat cast-iron grill plate on the grill over direct medium heat. Working in batches cook until medium-rare, about 4 minutes, per side. Transfer to a wire rack on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serve patties on pita with a serving of slaw and a dollop of sauce.

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Cheesy Tomato Dip

Cheesy Tomato Dip is packed with flavor from the fresh tomato, basil and garlic. Try left over dip the next day as a spread on a toasted bagel.

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Cheesy Tomato Dip
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of 12Tomatoes.com, 2015)

Makes 2 large appetizer dishes

2 French baguettes, sliced on the diagonal
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 8-oz. packages reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375F.

Make crostini: Place slices on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Spray both sides of the bread slices with cooking spray. Bake for 6 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 425F.

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, oil, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat. Transfer the tomato mixture to a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

In a food processor, mix the cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, and basil and pulse to combine. Add the tomato mixture and pulse for 30-45 seconds, or until smooth. Pour the mixture into two separate bowls. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly and beginning to brown on top.

Serve the dip hot with the crostini.

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Sweet Potato – Chorizo Burritos with Chimichurri

Sweet Potato – Chorizo Burritos with Chimichurri are sweet and spicy taste bites that are the perfect appetizer for a fall football Sunday. Depending on the “heat tolerance” of your guests consider whether to use hot or mild chorizo in the recipe. If you are not a fan of chimichurri, for whatever reason, consider serving these treats with Sriracha sour cream.

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Sweet Potato – Chorizo Burritos with Chimichurri
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of LouisianaCookin.com, 2015)

Makes 48 appetizer servings

4 tsp vegetable oil
12 oz. fresh chorizo, casing removed, meat crumbled
1 1/3 cups baked sweet potato, mashed
1 1/2 cup shredded, Pepper Jack cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano, plus 2 teaspoons, divided
48 wonton wrappers
1 cup firmly packed fresh parsley leaves
2 Tbsp chopped shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a large skillet over medium-high heat brown the chorizo and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.

Preheat oven to 425F. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with a non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine chorizo, sweet potato, oregano and cheese.

Take a wonton wrapped and dampen all edges with water. Place 1 teaspoon of the chorizo mixture in the lower middle of the wrapper. Fold “burrito-style” sealing all edges. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers. Place on prepared baking sheets. Spray the burritos with cooking spray. Bake until browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse the garlic. Add the shallot and pulse. Add the parsley and remaining 2 tablespoons oregano, vinegar, lemon juice, oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pulse until combined but chunky.

Serve the burritos warm with the chimichurri sauce.

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Grilled Short Ribs with Sesame-Chipotle Romesco

Grilled Short Ribs with Sesame-Chipotle Romesco is a new recipe in the Ample Bites grilling portfolio. The tangy romesco sauce highlights the beef without being overpowering. Serve along side a baked potato or Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes.

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Grilled Short Ribs with Sesame-Chipotle Romesco
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BonAppetit.com, June 2015)

Makes 6 servings

2/3 cup unsalted, roasted almonds
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 cups roasted red peppers from a jar, drained
3 canned chipotle pepper, in adobo, seeded
4 Tbsp sherry vinegar
3 lbs boneless beef short ribs (roughly 1 1/2-inch-thick)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Pulse almonds and sesame seeds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add red peppers, chiles and vinegar and puree until well-combined; season romesco with salt.

Prepare grill for medium-high direct grilling. Season ribs with salt and pepper and toss with 2/3 cup of the romesco. Set remaining romesco aside for serving. Grill the ribs, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides, about 8-10 minutes for medium-rare.

Let ribs rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve with the reserved romesco.

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Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes

Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes are a sweeter version of the traditional potato pancake. Serving these latkes with a chipotle-laced sour cream results in a spicy-sweet treat.

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Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of LousianaCookin.com, 2015)

Makes about 4 servings

1 cup peeled and shredded Granny Smith apple
3 cups peeled and coarsely shredded sweet potato (about 1 pound)
2 Tbsp finely chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
Canola oil for frying

In a clean dish towel, add apple and squeeze until excess liquid is released. In a medium bowl, combine apple, sweet potato, onion, flour, basil paprika and season generously with salt and pepper.

Create patties from 1/4-cup scoops and add to fryer in batches cooking at 325F until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack over a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. Re-season the latkes with salt immediately after coming from the fryer. Serve warm with a sour cream.

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