Celebrate Family and Food

(Family Features) Family traditions and in-person connections are important parts of gatherings of loved ones, and many of those get-togethers are centered on food. The entire family coming together around a table covered with warm, delicious food to share stories and create new memories is what makes mealtime special.

Forty chefs from around the nation came together to create “Come to the Table,” which offers a delicious mix of cuisines from a variety of cultures, including this sampling of classic family favorites, sweet indulgences and family-style creations all inspired by what family means to each chef.

“Sales from this book will directly benefit the families we serve, so we are so grateful for each and every chef that has offered their time and talent to this cookbook,” said Jill Cumnock, CEO of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. “The way ‘Come to the Table’ has been created reminds me of a recipe that culminates in a feast for the senses. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 40th anniversary, particularly at a time when families are starting to reunite after the pandemic forced so many apart.”

Visit rmhdallas.org for more information and to order the cookbook.

Baked Stuffed Pasta Shells

Recipe courtesy of chef Kevin Curry

Servings: 6-8

  • 6          ounces jumbo pasta shells
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          tablespoon fresh garlic
  • 1          medium onion, diced
  • 5          portobello mushroom caps, gills removed then diced
  • 1          pinch sea salt, plus additional, to taste
  • 1          pinch pepper, plus additional, to taste
  • 2          cups shredded kale
  • 3          tablespoons water
  • 15        ounces skim milk ricotta cheese
  • 4          tablespoons pesto
  • 1          tablespoon The Fit Cook Land spice blend
  • 1 1/2    cups reduced-fat marinara, divided
  • 1 1/2    cups reduced-fat mozzarella
  • fresh herbs, for garnish

Preheat oven to 420 F.

Bring pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta shells according to package instructions. Drain then set aside.

Heat pot or cast-iron casserole dish over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, garlic, onion and mushrooms. Add pinch of sea salt and pepper as it cooks. Cook until onions turn brown and mushrooms shrink in size, about 3-5 minutes. Empty contents and set aside.

Place pot back over heat. Add shredded kale and water to create steam. Toss kale in pot until it turns vibrant green; set aside to cool.

In large bowl, mix ricotta cheese with mushroom mixture, kale, pesto and spice blend.

In casserole dish, spread about 1/2 cup marinara on bottom. Then one-by-one, stuff each pasta shell with approximately 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture and add to casserole dish. Repeat with remaining shells.

Cover shells with remaining marinara and mozzarella cheese. Cover casserole dish with foil and bake 20 minutes. During final 5 minutes, remove foil so mozzarella can brown.

Garnish with fresh herbs and salt and pepper, to taste.

Green Curry

Recipe courtesy of chef Nikky Phinyawatana

Servings: 2

  • 2          cups fresh spinach
  • 1          cup water
  • 1          tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2          tablespoons green curry paste
  • 8          ounces skinless, boneless chicken, beef or pork, sliced thin
  • 1          small Japanese purple eggplant
  • 2          cups coconut milk
  • 4          teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       cup bamboo shoots, sliced
  • 1/4       medium red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 8-10     Thai basil leaves, plus additional, for garnish, divided
  • 2          cups cooked jasmine rice

In blender, blend spinach and water until mixture turns green and no leaves are visible.

In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add green curry paste and stir to release fragrance, about 10 seconds.

Add protein and cook 3-5 minutes.

Add blended spinach water, purple eggplant, coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring to boil. Add bamboo shoots and red bell pepper. Simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in basil leaves and turn off heat.

Serve with jasmine rice and garnish with additional basil leaves.

Daddy’s Birthday Flan

Recipe courtesy of chef Ninamarie Bojekian Mendoza

Servings: 10-12

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1          cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4       cup water

Cake:

  • 1 1/2    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1          teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 3/4       cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4       cup granulated sugar
  • 2          large eggs
  • 1/2       teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4       cup buttermilk
  • 3          tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (optional)

Flan:

  • 4          large eggs
  • 1          can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1          can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1          tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon, to taste
  1. In saucepan, heat granulated sugar and water over medium-low heat until melted.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Grease and flour 9-inch Bundt pan. Set aside.
  4. When sugar liquifies and turns golden brown, remove from heat and use silicone spatula or whisk to stir. While stirring, quickly pour into prepared Bundt pan.
  5. To make cake: In large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  6. In another bowl, use hand mixer on medium speed to beat butter and sugar, about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
  7. On low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture and buttermilk until combined.
  8. Fold in rainbow sprinkles, if desired.
  9. Pour batter into pans over caramel sauce.
  10. To make flan: In blender on high speed, blend eggs, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until well combined.
  11. Gently pour through strainer and onto prepared cake batter.
  12. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.
  13. Place pan in water bath by putting it in larger baking dish, roasting pan, hotel pan or similar. Pour hot water halfway up sides to create water bath.
  14. Bake approximately 1 hour. Cake should be golden brown and jiggle when shaken when done.
  15. Remove cake from water bath and cool on rack 10 minutes.
  16. Run knife or spatula carefully around edges to separate. Place plate on top of cake and, while holding it, flip over carefully and quickly.
  17. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight before serving.

 

Photo courtesy of Ink Phinyawatana (Green Curry)