Browsing Tag

family dinners

Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Seafood

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole with Spicy Tomato Sauce from Karista's Kitchen

I just realized I may be a tiny bit obsessed with ricotta cheese.  My last two recipes have included ricotta cheese and now I’m posting this lovely Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole with a Spicy Tomato Sauce.  Completely unintentional as it may be, I must have a sub-concious need for ricotta cheese. Maybe I’m simply channeling my inner Italian, or my need to return to Italy. 🙂 Yep, it’s my need to return to Italy.

This is a dish that keeps a regular rotation on my dinner menu.  Which is why I’m surprised I’ve never shared this enchanting recipe until now.  I’m fairly certain it was due to the food being eaten before I could snap a photo.

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole is a simple entree that assembles easily and can be popped into the oven and served with a lovely Citrus and Arugula Salad or Pesto Broccolini for a beautiful meal.

On occasion I’ll prepare the ricotta stuffing the night before and let it sit in the fridge until needed the next evening; making it even easier to assemble, bake and serve this saucy and creamy Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole.

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole with Spicy Tomato Sauce from Karista's Kitchen

I’ve prepared this dish with fresh spinach, sautéed, chopped and squeezed, but I find for reasons of time and texture that frozen, chopped spinach which has been thawed and squeezed works better in this recipe.

That said, once, I forgot to pick up frozen spinach at the market so I walked outside, snipped some Swiss chard from my garden and used it instead.  Not quite as delicate in flavor as the spinach, but still lovely and delicious.

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole with Spicy Tomato Sauce from Karista's Kitchen

I love it when dinner comes together quickly and involves cheese and sauce.  Not too mention, it’s a great way to serve more seafood during the week without a lot of fuss.

An interesting wine tip…  I’ve paired this recipe with a dry, un-oaked chardonnay as well as a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  Although these two wines have completely different flavor profiles, both wines were complimentary.  🙂

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole

Serving Size: 4

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Dover Sole


    For the Dover Sole
  • 1lb Dover Sole
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 package (about 8-12oz) chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped Italian parsley, divided
  • ½ cup shredded Mozzarella
  • ¼ cup Italian bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    For the Tomato Sauce
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 14oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil an 8 ½ x 11 baking dish.
  • In a food processor add the ricotta, spinach, garlic, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, oregano and Italian parsley. Pulse until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Season each Dover sole filet with salt and pepper. Place a teaspoon or two of the spinach ricotta mixture on one end of the filet and then roll, being careful not to squeeze the filling out of the sides. Some will inevitably escape during cooking. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until all the filets have been stuffed and rolled.
  • Mix together the mozzarella, ¼ cup parmesan and bread crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the stuffed, rolled filets and then drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.
  • Place the baking dish in the oven and let it cook for about 10-12 minutes. Turn the broiler on for a minute or two, just before the fish is done to toast the bread crumbs and melt the cheese.
  • To make the sauce, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a sauté pan and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot sauté the onions until wilted, then add the garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté one minute longer.
  • Next, stir in the red wine and let it reduce by half. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Once incorporated put it back over medium heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, adding a little water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To serve, ladle sauce on a plate and then place a stuffed filet or two over the sauce and garnish with additional chopped fresh Italian parsley.
  • Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Sassy Side dishes Soup vegetarian

    Watercress Soup

    Watercress Soup with Creme Fraiche and Chopped Chive

    The French have this unique way of turning the simplest ingredient into the most lush of recipes.  A filet of fish can be transformed into the loveliest meal; slightly bathed in butter, shallots, fresh Tarragon and red grapes with a touch of cream – bringing elegance to a simple pairing of ingredients.  How about peppercorns pounded into a beautiful cut of beef, pan seared in butter and then topped with a quick pan sauce?  This dish makes for a scrumptious meal that is simply prepared but rich with flavor.

    So it didn’t surprise me when I found this recipe for Watercress Soup in one of my cherished French cookbooks.  A few years ago, my daughters had the pleasure of visiting France with their most generous and adoring Great Aunt and Uncle.  Yes, my Aunt and Uncle spoiled the girls completely and it was a trip of a lifetime that they still talk about today.  Visiting Paris with all it’s history and architecture and of course the food, the girls couldn’t help but bring me back a cookbook to add to my ever expanding collection.  Filled with the loveliest recipes that are beautifully prepared with seasonal ingredients in methods only the French could create.

    Watercress Soup with Creme Fraiche and Fresh Chives // Karista's Kitchen

    This watercress soup recipe brought back memories of a soup I dined on back East years ago.  It was also a watercress soup but it included additional ingredients of spring peas and asparagus.  It was beyond delicious.  This soup however is simply prepared but certainly not lacking in flavor.  With a nice base of creamy potatoes, onions and garlic, it’s an easy soup to make and holds beautifully in the fridge.  I topped the soup with a dollop of creme fraiche but a dollop of plain Greek yogurt would also be delicious.

    Comforting, warm and so completely perfect for spring, I adore the pale green color of the soup.  It would make a lovely presentation on a Mother’s Day Brunch table or even a family dinner.  I served this soup a la carte with warm crisp baguette slices topped with apple slices and Gruyere cheese and then melted slightly in the oven.   Yes, it was fabulous!

    Wishing you all a most delicious week!

    Loads of Love,


    Watercress Soup with Creme Fraiche

    Serving Size: 6

    Watercress Soup with Creme Fraiche


    • 2-3 tablespoons butter
    • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
    • 1 large clove of garlic, finely diced
    • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • 2-3 cups vegetable broth
    • 2 lbs watercress, trimmed and coarsely chopped
    • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (if needed)
    • 1/2 - 1 cup heavy cream or half n half
    • Garnish with chopped fresh chives and creme Fraiche (or plain Greek yogurt)


  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a large soup pot and add the onions. Let the onions soften for a few minutes and then add the garlic, potatoes, thyme and Italian parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Stir in 2 cups vegetable broth, enough to cover all the veggies. Bring the broth to a boil and then turn down the heat, cover and let the veggies cook until the potatoes are soft. About 10-15 minutes.
  • Once the potatoes are soft, stir in the chopped watercress, adding additional broth 1/4 cup at a time if needed. You want the soup to be thick with ingredients as you will puree it into a smooth soup and if there is too much liquid, the pureed soup will have too thin a consistency. You can always add more liquid at the end if the soup is too thick.
  • Let the watercress simmer for about 5 minutes, until it's nicely wilted. Take the soup off the heat and let it cool a bit. Then either transfer it to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
  • Once the soup has been pureed, transfer it back to the soup pot. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. To heighten the flavor of soups and to bring all those flavors together, I add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar to the soup. Stir this in now if you like.
  • To finish the soup, stir in the one cup of cream if desired. I used about 1/2 cup heavy cream in my soup. Ladle into bowls or one large serving bowl and garnish with creme Fraiche and fresh chopped chive. Enjoy!
  • Notes

    This soup recipe was adapted from a recipe I found in my French book written by Maria Villegas and Sarah Randell. As usual, I made some changes to suit my tastes, but that's what I adore so much about a recipe, making it my own. Feel free to do the same!

    Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pasta Risotto vegetarian VRAI Magazine

    Roasted Pumpkin Risotto

    Roasted Pumpkin Risotto // Karista's Kitchen and VRAI Magazine

    Risotto is true comfort food.  Just the act of preparing risotto feels comforting, soothing somehow.  Maybe it’s because when I make risotto I like to turn on old Italian music and channel my inner Italian; or maybe it simply reminds me of time spent in Italy with the most wonderful and delightful people.

    Although risotto feels like comfort food, it also feels lush.  A bit decadent and a bit indulgent.  That could be another reason I love preparing risotto for my family – tossing in and adding seasonal ingredients like roasted pumpkin to create an even greater indulgent experience.

    If you’ve never prepared risotto or you’ve prepared it and it didn’t quite turn out the way you anticipated, you are going to love this Roasted Pumpkin Risotto post.  I’ve created this post for the October issue of  VRAI Magazine.  Head on over and check out this easy and fun pictorial as well as all the fabulous articles about lifestyle, travel, DIY, fashion and more food!  Click HERE for the recipe.

    Roasted Pumpkin Risotto // Karista's Kitchen

    I just want to say a HUGE thank you for reading Karista’s Kitchen and following Karista’s Kitchen on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.  I truly appreciate and value your time spent browsing and reading – and my hope is that each and every recipe inspires you.

    As well, thank you so much for following and reading VRAI Magazine!  I am so proud and feel so honored to be part of such a talented team of professionals.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,




    Stuffed Pork Loin with Fresh Spinach, Feta and Golden Raisins

    I just might have a thousand recipes for pork (exaggerating a wee bit), but for some reason I’m completely bored with all of them.  I think it’s time to get a little fancy with this week’s pork. 

    And by fancy I don’t mean lots of work,  just really fresh and delicious and maybe a little different from the usual.  Something that’ll make me smile and maybe even impress the Bennett Crew.  They are my toughest critics.  So far anyway.   

    I had the prettiest pink pork loin in my frig.  I asked my butcher to butterfly the pork loin so I could stuff it.  With what I wasn’t sure.  I had spinach in the frig, and I always have feta cheese.  I love feta cheese and my absolute favorite feta is Valbreso French Sheep’s Milk Feta.  Yum!

    I keep lots of dried fruit on hand (for those scones I’m always going to make but never get to), and I was thinking the golden raisins would go nicely with the spinach and feta.  Throw in some onions, garlic and toasted walnuts and my boring pork just got exciting. 

    The pretty pink pork turned out beautiful.  What was the first thing the Bennett Crew asked?  Mom, does it come with a sauce? (if you know me, you know why that’s funny) So much for impressing the Bennett Crew. 

    And the answer is yes.  I did whip up a little sauce for the stuffed pork and I’ve added it at the end of the recipe.  A simple pan sauce that you can use for any meat dish.  Just in case your family asks “does it come with a sauce?”. 

    Serves 4-6


    3lb pork loin, butterflied (ask your butcher to butterfly)

    5-6 oz fresh spinach (I like to use organic fresh baby spinach)

    ¼ cup golden raisins

    1/3 cup white wine, warmed (you can substitute with warm water)

    Olive oil

    Butter (if needed)

    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    1 small onion, chopped (I used a Walla Walla sweet onion and it was delish!)

    ¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts

    3 1/2 – 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


    Kitchen twine

    Fresh chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

    Shortcut Rosemary White Beans (recipe below)

    I know the directions look long and tedious… but it’s just me being wordy again.  It’s really very easy to put together and then pop it in the oven.  Add some shortcut rosemary white beans and dinner is not only beautiful, but delicious.  


    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

    Place the warm wine (or water) in a bowl and then add the raisins.  Let the raisins sit and plump while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

    Heat a skillet or sauté pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil.  Add the fresh spinach to the pan and let the heat wilt the spinach.  Try not to cook the spinach; you just want it wilted, not fully cooked where it omits lots of liquid.  Transfer the wilted spinach to a bowl and set aside. 

    In the same skillet or sauté pan over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon oil or butter.  Sauté the onions until translucent or nicely wilted.  Then add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds longer just until fragrant. 

    Remove from the heat and place the onions and garlic in the bowl with the spinach.

    Drain the raisins and then add them to the spinach mixture, along with the chopped walnuts and crumbled feta. 

    Gently toss the ingredients together, season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Unfold the butterflied pork loin and season both sides with salt and pepper.

    Spread the filling on the pork.

    Roll the pork and then place seam side down in a baking dish or roasting pan.  With kitchen twine, tie the pork in two or three places. 

    Place the pork in the oven and roast at 400F for about 10 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 350F for another 30. 

    At 30 minutes, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.  The pork will be done when the meat thermometer reads 145F.  These are new guidelines for cooking pork.  For more information about the new guidelines here is an informative website.

    When the pork is done, remove from the oven and let it sit for about five minutes before slicing.

    If you’d like a quick pan sauce for your pork, heat a few tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  When the butter is frothy, whisk in a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and then about 1/3 cup of white wine or chicken broth.  Let the sauce simmer and reduce a bit.  It will be not be a thick sauce, just a nice au jus type sauce to ladle over the pork once it’s sliced. 

    Season the sauce with salt and pepper and if you have any fresh herbs lying around, chop an assortment of fresh herbs and add to the sauce.  I love fresh chopped oregano and Italian parsley with this sauce. 

    Slice the pork and place on individual plates or a platter.  Sprinkle with fresh chopped Italian parsley.  If you made the sauce, drizzle it over the sliced pork. 

    Serve with Shortcut Rosemary White Beans and a mixed green salad for a beautiful and delicious meal. 

    Shortcut Rosemary White Beans


    1 15oz can organic white beans

    2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

    Salt and pepper to taste


    Add the beans and rosemary to a small pot.  Heat the beans to a simmer, being careful not to over mix as they will lose their shape. 

    Turn off the heat and cover with a lid.  Let the beans sit for a few minutes to absorb the rosemary flavors.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Refrigerate the beans to top a salad or serve warm as a side dish.