Sunday, February 27, 2011

Making it work! Pasta Lasagna

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I started to make lasagna tonight – I had homemade marinara & meat sauce, and ricotta & parm mixture ready to go when I realized I had only 3 lasagna noodles left!  Instead of running to the store for 1 lonely item or scrapping the dish altogether, I decided to make it work with what I had.

I cooked up rigatoni noodles, and used them as my pasta layer!  Sauce, pasta, ricotta, sauce, pasta, ricotta – topped with real mozzarella cheese (btw, SO worth the extra spare change).  Baked @ 375 degrees for 30 mins.  It had all the same feeling of a comforting lasagna, but was actually easier to eat and serve!

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quiche

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Oh, I adore quiche.  Whether eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner – it’s always smooth, creamy, cheesy perfection.  One of the best things about quiche is that you can mix and match the ingredients each time to keep thing interesting. 

This time, I took my classic quiche lorraine recipe and simply switched the swiss for sharp white Vermont cheddar and the bacon for mushrooms.  I also went with cream instead of milk for extra creaminess.  Mmmm good.

My tweaked recipe:

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  2. 1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin
  3. 4 eggs, beaten
  4. 1 1/2 cups milk or cream
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  7. 1 T flour

Directions

Bake crust in 425 degree oven for 5 min (line crust w/ foil).  Remove foil and bake another 5 min.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cook onion (in bacon grease if possible) until tender, adding sliced mushrooms in after first 2-3 mins.

Mix together milk / cream, salt, and eggs.  Stir in onions and mushrooms.  In separate bowl, mix cheese and flour, then add to egg mixture.  Mix and pour into crust.

Bake 45 mins or until center of quiche is solid. 

TIP: cover crust edge with tin foil to prevent overbrowning.  Let stand 10 min before serving.

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baked Ziti

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Not the prettiest picture in the world, but I was so busy eating this dish that I didn’t get time to take a better photo!

This baked ziti is an absolute comfort food, and oh so good.  This recipe was a little different than the norm as it called for the majority of the sauce to be poured over the top vs. mixed in.  It was really good!

  1. 1 lb whole milk or 1% cottage cheese
  2. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  3. 1.5 cups grated parm cheese
  4. table salt
  5. 1 lb ziti
  6. 5 medium garlic cloves, minced or grated
  7. 1 can tomato sauce (28 oz)
  8. 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  9. 1 t dried oregano
  10. 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  11. 1 t sugar
  12. ground black pepper
  13. 3/4 t cornstarch
  14. 1 cup heavy cream
  15. 8 oz motz cheese cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup parm together.  Set aside.  Cook pasta until al dente in boiling salted water.

Heat oil and garlic in skillet over medium heat (2 min).  Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and oregano.  Heat until thickened (about 10 mins).  Take off heat and stir in basil, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stir cornstarch and heavy cream together and transfer mixture to the now-empty pot on the stove (from pasta).  Bring to simmer over medium heat and cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and add cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup of tomato sauce and 3/4 cup of the mozzarella.  Stir.  Add the pasta and stir to coat.

Transfer pasta to 13x9 (I used 9x9) baking dish and spread remaining tomato sauce evenly over the pasta.Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and 1/2 cup parm over dish, cover with foil and bake 30 mins.  Remove foil and cook until cheese is bubbling (20-30 mins longer).  Cool 15 mins, sprinkle with additional basil and serve.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Food Art

I've been thinking of redoing some of my dining room / kitchen art work and I’m seriously considering artistically framing food pics.  What is it about food that I just find so visually appealing? 

I haven’t picked out the photos I would use yet (I like the dessert & fruit pics best so far), but I’m loving looking through all my pics and seeing the beautiful range of colors; they’re so enticing and I swear I can almost smell the food just by looking…

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nutella in everything…

In addition to my addition to shoes and chapstick, I’m somewhat addicted to nutella.  Nutella is a fabulously thick rich chocolate hazelnut spread that is divine in crepes, over fruit, stirred into hot chocolate, mixed into chocolate crinkle cookie batter and more recently – spread in between layers of red velvet cake.  I figure it’s good for me because it has nuts in in… right?

Life is sweet my friends.  Spread the love, and spread the nutella.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Vegetable Curry

Feeling like a hearty meal, but don’t want to weighed down with meat?  Try vegetable curry!  There are a million and one recipes, depending on what amount of spice and blend of flavors you like.  This version is pretty mild, but you can always heighten the temp by adding more serrano chile and cayenne.  Add whatever veggies are in your pantry if you don’t have the ones listed here.

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Ingredients:

  1. 2 T mild curry powder
  2. 1.5 t garam masala
  3. 4 T vegetable oil
  4. 3 garlic cloves minced
  5. 1 T grated ginger
  6. 1/2 serrano chile seeded & minced
  7. 1 T tomato paste
  8. 2 medium onions mined
  9. 2 potatoes cubed
  10. 1/2 cauliflower cut in florets
  11. 1 can diced tomato
  12. 1.25 cups water
  13. 1 can chickpeas
  14. 1/5 cups frozen peas
  15. 1/4 coconut milk
  16. salt

Recipe:

Toast curry and garam masala in small skillet until fragrant (1 min).  In small bowl mix 1 T oil and ingredients 4-7.

Heat remaining 3 T oil in dutch oven (medium high heat).  Add onions and potatoes until tender and caramelized (10 mins).

On medium heat, clear center of pot and add garlic mixture.  Cook, mashing mixture into veggies.  Add spices and cook 1 min longer.  Add cauliflower and mix.

Add ingredients 11-13, plus 1 teaspoon salt, scraping brown bits from bottom of the pan.  Bring to boil over medium high heat stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender.  Stir in peas and cream and continue to cook about 2 more mins.  Season with salt to taste and serve over rice.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chicken / Turkey Tetrazzini

The roux:

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The assembled dish before breadcrumbs & baking:

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The final product:

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Topping
1/2 c fresh breadcrumbs
Pinch table salt
1 1/2 T melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Filling
6 T unsalted butter, plus extra for baking dish
3 cups white mushrooms, sliced thin
2 medium onions, chopped fine
Table salt and ground black pepper
3/4 pound spaghetti or other long-strand pasta, snapped in half
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
3 T dry sherry
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 small lemon
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 cups frozen peas
4 cups leftover cooked boneless turkey meat or chicken meat, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Mix the 1st 3 ingredients for the topping, bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until golden and crisp. Cool and mix with cheese.

For filling, preheat onions to 450 degrees, sauté onions and mushrooms in butter until soft 12-15 minutes. Season with S & P and set aside. Boil noodles to al dente. Reserve 1/4 c of water and drain.

Make a roux with the butter and flour and cook until golden. Whisk in chicken stock and cook over medium high until thickened. Whisk seasonings. Add peas, reserved sautéed veggies, noodles and turkey. Put in a 9 x 13 casserole dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake 13-15 minutes until bubbly.