Here are Rachael Ray's Top 10 ingredients you'll never catch her without in her kitchen:
1. Extra virgin olive oil (or, as Rachael says, EVOO)
4. Dry pasta
5. Grated parmesan
6. Canned cannelloni beans
7. Packages of tuna
8. Frozen cut green beans and peas
10. Canned broth
Other items great to have as staples in your kitchen include dried herbs and spices, an assortment of flavored vinegars, soy sauce, honey mustard, butter, flour, eggs and cornstarch. Just imagine the near endless edible possibilities!
Have you ever wondered how Rachael Ray got hooked on her 30-minute meals?
By her early 20s, Rachael moved to New York City and eventually became manager of the fresh foods department at Macy's. She went on to help open and manage the prestigious New York gourmet marketplace Agata and Valentina. Despite the exciting city life of NYC, Rachael decided to move to upstate and manage the pubs and restaurants at the famed Sagamore Resort on Lake George, where she was recruited by Cowan and Lobel, a large gourmet market in Albany, to be their food buyer and chef.
As a way to increase grocery sales during the holidays, Rachael began a series of cooking classes at Cowan and Lobel, including a course promising to teach "30-Minute Mediterranean Meals," which exploded in popularity. The CBS station in Albany-Schenectady, WRGB-TV, discovered Rachael and signed her on to do a weekly "30-Minute Meals" segment for the evening news. Nominated for two regional Emmys in its first year, the segment was a major success. To boot, a companion cookbook sold 10,000 copies locally during the holidays. Her quick-to-the-table concept has continued to gain popularity, making 30-minute meals and Rachael Ray synonymous.
Best yet, Ray's recipes can fit seamlessly into a healthy lifestyle. She loves to cook, but she also loves living healthy. Even indulgent or marginally healthy meals can be made healthier. Ray says, "It's easier to make any of your favorite recipes healthier. The next time you make mac 'n' cheese, swap in whole wheat elbows, which are higher in protein and fiber than their pale counterparts. If you make a milk- or cream-based sauce, substitute chicken broth for half the dairy. When you mash up potatoes, mash in some extra veggies like cauliflower or broccoli."
Here are three recipes, brought to us from the editors of Every Day with Rachael Ray, that are sure to land rave-reviews in your kitchen -- without busting your budget:
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 large eggplant (about 1 3/4 pounds), cut lengthwise into 8 slices
Salt and pepper to taste
4 large eggs
3/4 cup store-bought pesto
2 1/2 cups bread crumbs
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese
1 cup store bought marinara sauce
1. Season the eggplant with salt and pepper. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and 4 tablespoons pesto. Pour the breadcrumbs onto a large plate. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg mixture, then coat with the breadcrumbs.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the eggplant until golden, 2 minutes on each side, using the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer the eggplant to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta and 3 tablespoons pecorino-romano. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon of the remaining pesto on each eggplant slice and top with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Roll up each slice. Bake until the eggplant is tender when pierced with a toothpick, about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer. Serve the roll-ups with the sauce and remaining pecorino.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound smoked turkey sausage, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped (about 1-1/4 cups)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound split peas
4 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated peel of 1 lemon
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Return the pan to the heat, add the onions, carrots and half the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the split peas, chicken broth, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the peas begin to break down, about 50 minutes.
3. Using a blender, puree the soup. Return to the saucepan and heat through over medium heat. Stir in the reserved sausage.
4. In a small bowl, combine three-quarters of the lemon peel with 1/2 cup mint and the remaining garlic. Stir into the soup and season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top each portion with the remaining lemon peel and mint.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped almonds
10 tablespoons marshmallow cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking liners. Using a mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg. Mix in the salt, baking powder and baking soda at low speed, then mix in the vanilla and flour. Stir in the chocolate chips and almonds.
2. Drop 10 rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake the cookies until golden at the edges and slightly soft in the center, about 12 minutes. Transfer the cookie sheets to racks to cool completely. Sandwich the cookies with 2 tablespoons marshmallow each.
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