Cooking at home more than usual? Birmingham’s local chefs are, too! If you’re tired of making the same dish night after night, you’re in luck. Today we’re sharing tasty meal ideas that Magic City chefs are whipping up in their own kitchens. Enjoy!
What Birmingham Chefs are Cooking While We’re All at Home
Chef Al Rabiee’s Spinach Lasagna
There’s nothing a good Italian dish can’t fix, including the quarantine blues. Chef Al Rabiee from Vino whipped up a delicious vegetarian meal that is both tasty and easy. This is a meal the whole will family enjoy.
- 2 lbs chopped & thawed spinach
- 2-3 lbs of ricotta cheese
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 ½ cups grated parmesan
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 32-48 ounces of your favorite brand of red sauce
- 2-3 12-ounce packs of “oven-ready” lasagna sheets. If you are able to find the frozen lasagna sheets, those are best.
- Squeeze all excess water out of thawed spinach
- Sauté chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until tender, not browned
- Mix first 6 ingredients listed above in big bowl, then layer as directed below
- Repeat these layers (cooked lasagna noodles, spinach/cheese mix spread evenly over lasagna noodles, approximately 1 ½ cups of red sauce gently spread evenly over spinach/cheese mix) 3 times omitting the last layer of mozzarella until AFTER baking
- Sprinkle generously with shredded mozzarella
- Bake for 45 minutes at 350-375 degrees F (most ovens vary)
- Allow to rest for 30 minutes before adding last layer of shredded mozzarella — then serve!
Chef James Huckaby’s Seared Red Snapper with Spring Corn-Leek-Dill Succotash and Missimati Rice
Seafood for dinner? No problem. Chef James Huckaby of Automatic Seafood & Oysters is sharing his delicious recipe for his tasty seared red snapper. This is a dish your family will be begging you to make again!
- 1 lb red snapper fillet
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of fresh corn
- ½ cup diced sweet onion
- ½ cup diced leek
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- ½ cup diced Roma tomato
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons of roughly chopped dill
- Lemon to taste
- 2 cups of avocado
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of garlic paste
- Season snapper fillet and sear in a cast iron skillet until outside is crisp and finish in a 350-degree F oven until done
- Cook rice per instructions and set aside
- In a sauté pan, preheat oil over medium heat. Add leek, onion, bell pepper and cook until onions are translucent (approx. 5 mins). Add corn and cook another 3 minutes until corn is tender. Add tomato and water, and simmer until all flavors have married together and water has reduced to create a sauce consistency. Add dill and lemon to taste immediately before serving to finish succotash.
- Peel avocado and place in mixing bowl.
- Smash with whisk until smooth and creamy
- Add lime juice and garlic paste, and add salt to taste for guacamole on the side
Chef Bryan Stanfield’s Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Slower mornings means more time to experiment with delicious breakfast recipes! It is the most important meal of the day, after all. Chef Bryan Stanfield (and his very special sous-chef) of Trattoria ZaZa shares his lemon ricotta pancake recipe to spice up our breakfast routine.
- 1 cup (5 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup homemade ricotta (recipe below)
- 1 liter of whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
- 4 Tbsp of lemon juice
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 2 lemon (zest and juice)
- Additional butter for cooking
- Any fruit you like, macerated
- Maple syrup
- Powdered sugar
- First, zest your lemons and squeeze the juice, keep separate (make the ricotta recipe below or use store-bought ricotta). Second, add all your wet ingredients together: ricotta, buttermilk, eggs, butter, lemon zest. In a separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Add your wet ingredients to your dry and gently fold — you want it lumpy. This will yield a very thick batter.
- Heat a pan over medium heat. Once a drop of water scatters on the pan, then it’s hot enough. Add butter and allow to foam. Add 2 oz. of batter at a time to make medium size pancakes, and cook 2-3 minutes per side. Once finished, add your fruit, syrup and powdered sugar.
- HOW TO: Homemade Ricotta — Heat milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the milk begins to steam. Keep the milk with a lid on so it reaches temperature quicker and less chance to scorch. If you have a thermometer, the temperature you are looking for is 175 degrees F, but if not, then just before a boil when liquid begins steaming. Once you’ve reached the temperature, add your lemon juice. Stir once, then cut the heat off and keep the lid on. Leave it for at least 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, strain through a cheesecloth, fine mesh strainer, or coffee filter. Let it drain and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes until firm. Yields 1 cup Ricotta.
Chef Mauricio Papapietro’s Crispy Fried Brussels Sprouts
Owner and chef Mauricio Papapietro of brick & tin is sharing a side dish you will want to make over and over again. This Brussels sprout recipe is quick, simple and SO tasty. For more recipes from the talented team at brick & tin, be sure to read their weekly blog “At-Home with brick & tin,” where a new recipe is featured every Wednesday.
- 4 cups fresh Brussels sprouts
- 4 cups vegetable or canola oil
- 1 lemon
- Kosher Salt
- 1 cup homemade aioli, prepared mayonnaise, yogurt, etc.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a medium to large, heavy-bottomed saucepot. The oil should not fill the pot by more than half. Using a thermometer, bring the oil to 375 degrees F.
- Slice Brussels sprouts in half, cutting through the stem end so halves remain intact at the stem. If you wash them, pat them completely dry before cooking (hot oil and water can expand and be dangerous).
- Very carefully drop half of the Brussels into the hot oil. Beware, they'll start popping and sizzling right away. Cook for about one minute until they've turned golden brown and are floating at the top of the oil. Using a slotted spoon, lift the Brussels out of the oil and into a bowl. Squeeze the juice from half of the lemon onto the Brussels and season with kosher salt, tossing to coat. Repeat with the second half of Brussels.
RELATED: How to Meal Prep and Eat Healthy During Quarantine
The Lumbar’s Rylie Hightower’s Cuba Libre
Since you’re already testing out new recipes, add a cocktail to the mix! The Lumbar’s owner, Rylie Hightower, is sharing her refreshing Cuba Libre recipe. It’s the perfect addition to any meal. Plus, you can pick up a cocktail experiment kit from The Lumbar through online ordering Tuesday through Sunday, noon until 7 p.m. Cheers!
- 1.5-2 oz light rum
- 0.25 oz lime juice
- 4 oz Coca-Cola
- Fill a 10-12 oz glass with ice
- Add rum, lime, and Coca-Cola to the glass, one ingredient at a time
- Top with a lime wheel or wedge
Bon appétit, Birmingham!
For more delicious and simple recipes to add to your meal planning list, click HERE.