Sunday, July 27, 2008

Penne with Tomatoes, Pesto & Artichokes (& Sausage)

I had quite a challenge on my hands Friday night. My kids requested "noodles" for dinner (surprise, surprise), I had sausage I wanted to try, and a bottle of pesto I felt inclined to use. The problem: I had no real recipe to cook by. I could have thrown a few things together, but thought I'd go to this trusty site: Of course, I found a recipe, and it was good--as usual.

Penne With Tomatoes, Pesto & Artichokes
(Bon Appetite, July 1998)

1 6- to 7-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
3 tablespoons oil reserved
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup purchased pesto
12 ounces penne pasta, freshly cooked
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Additional grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 3 tablespoons oil reserved from artichokes in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is tender, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juices and artichokes. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 8 minutes. Add pesto; simmer 1 minute longer.
Mix in pasta and ­ cup cheese. Season pasta with salt and pepper.Transfer pasta to large bowl. Serve, passing additional Parmesan separately.

My notes on this recipe are:
I only used a 14oz. can of diced tomatoes and therefore cut the pesto down to about 1/3 c.--there was still enough sauce to coat the pasta, but not be drenched in it.
I also added sausage. I was introduced to this yummy chicken, spinach & fontina cheese sausage by my friend is "Han's All Natural Gourmet Sausage". You can get it at Costco. It is precooked but can be grilled, broiled, microwaved, sauteed, etc. when you are ready to eat it. I sliced mine into 1/4 inch pieces and sauteed it with the onion and garlic in this recipe. Sidenote: Marc ate the other sausage for dinner the next night on a hot dog bun with catsup and mustard and loved it that way, too. It's good stuff!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells

I am sure most of you already have a recipe similar to this one. It is a Mormon basic. But I make it pretty consistently and always freeze half, so I thought it would be a good post for those reasons. I got this recipe at an Enrichment night on freezer meals--and this definitely freezes well. Amounts can easily be adjusted to make more, too!

Taco Stuffed Pasta Shells
(wish I could remember names, but it was someone in our Boise, ID ward a few years back)

16 jumbo dried pasta shells
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 can refried beans
1 jar salsa
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c. green onion, sliced
sour cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook beef in large skillet until brown; drain. Add seasoning mix and follow directions on package; cook over low heat until thickened. Add beans and 1/2 c. cheese; mix well.
Spread 1/4 cup salsa over bottom of two 8-inch square baking dishes. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Fill pasta shells with beef mixture; place half of the shells in each dish, filled side up. Spoon remaining salsa over shells in both pans.
Cover one baking dish with plastic wrap, then overwrap with foil. Label and freeze for up to 2 months.
Cover remaining dish with foil. Bake for 40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with green onions and remaining cheese. Serve wtih sour cream.

TO BAKE FROZEN SHELLS: Store baking dish in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove plastic wrap; recover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. green onions and 1/4 c. shredded cheese. Serve with sour cream. Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Berry Muffins

These muffins are REALLY good. Feel quite hearty due to the oatmeal in them. Ellery isn't a huge fan of blueberries, so we split the batter and made 1/2 blueberry and 1/2 raspberry. The raspberry were my favorite!
P.S. They freeze well, and that's a good thing considering this recipe made 30 muffins!

Berry Muffins
(Wondertime, June 2008)

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
16 ounces sour cream
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw)
2 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 375.

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with muffin-cup liners. This recipe won't work without them. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with sour cream until thoroughly combined. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt together butter and brown sugar, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then beat this mixture into egg mixture. Stir in oats.

Fold in flour mixture and then — very gently — fold in berries. Fill muffin cups about three-quarters full. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar onto the top of each muffin.

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until edges are medium brown and tops are firm.

Cool for 5 minutes, then remove muffins (in their papers) and finish cooling on rack.

Sausage & Cheese Strata

Marc thought this was just OK, I liked it, and Addison LOVED it. She had 3 helpings for dinner (yes, we had breakfast for dinner) and then asked for it for breakfast again the next morning. For that reason alone, I felt it worthy to put on this blog. My only note is that this is a breakfast food, but takes quite a bit of prep, so it definitely needs to be put together the night before.

Sausage & Cheese Strata
(Wondertime magazine, June 2008)

6 English muffins, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, or 8 thick slices of Italian bread, cubed
1/2 pound bulk sausage (or breakfast sausage with the casings removed)
12 ounces Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, grated
4 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk (any kind)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

At least two hours before you'll be baking the strata, heat oven to 350. On a cookie sheet, in a single layer, bake English muffin or bread cubes for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are dried out and beginning to brown. Turn oven off, remove cubes, and let cool while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

In a skillet, brown and break up sausage and transfer it to paper towels to drain. Brush a 2-quart soufflé or casserole dish with about a tablespoon of the fat from the skillet. In the dish, arrange layers as follows: 1/3 English muffin cubes, 1/3 cheese, all the sausage, 1/3 English muffin cubes, 1/3 cheese, 1/3 English muffin cubes. Press the contents of the dish down firmly.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce; pour mixture over strata. Top the dish with remaining cheese, and drizzle the top with melted butter.

Chill, covered, at least an hour, or overnight.

Let dish stand at room temperature for 45 minutes before you bake it. Heat oven to 350. Bake strata for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until it's golden brown and puffy.

(NOTES: At the last minute I realized I didn't have sausage in my freezer like I thought I did, so I used cooked bacon and diced ham instead. Worked great! I also didn't have cayenne pepper, so I used a dash of tabasco sauce)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Roasted Tomato 'N' Garlic Mayonnaise

I made this the other day and had it on Grilled Chicken, Bacon & Cheese Sandwiches last night. YUMMY! But it will also be good on just a regular turkey & cheese sandwich, too. The magazine suggests using it on hamburgers, which would be good, too. Very versatile--great change from plain mayonnaise.

Roasted Tomato 'N' Garlic Mayonnaise
(Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking, June/July 2008)

4 plum tomotoes
3 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 whole garlic bulb
3/4 c. reduced fat mayonnaise

Cut tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Drizzle cut sides with 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil. Combine the herbs, pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt; sprinkle over tomatoes. Place cut side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Remove papery outer skin from garlic (do not peel or separate cloves). Cut top off garlic bulb. Brush with 1/2 tsp. oil and wrap in heavy aluminum foil. Place on baking sheet with tomatoes and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Turn tomatoes; drizzle with remaining oil. Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until garlic is tender and tomatoes are softened. Cool for 10 minutes.

Squeeze softened garlic into a small bowl. Chop tomatoes and add to garlic. Stir in mayonnaise and remaining salt until blended.

Citrus-Ginger Marinade

This recipe was originally called "Honey Grilled Chicken Breasts" but the marinade was more citrus and ginger than it was honey, and I figured everyone knows how to throw a chicken breast on the barbeque, so I changed the name and will just list the ingredients of the marinade.
NOTE: The longer this chicken marinades, the better.

Citrus-Ginger Marinade
(Healthy Cooking, June/July 2008)

1/2 c. orange juice
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 Tblspn. minced fresh gingerroot (OR 1/2-1 tsp. ground ginger)
12 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

(Enough marinade for at least 8 chicken breasts)

Apple Dumplings

For those of you who have yet to hear of "Pioneer Woman," you HAVE to check out her website! I first got hooked when my friend Ellen recommended reading the Pioneer Woman's love story of how she met her husband. The premise is that she was a city girl and he a cowboy (who she refers to as "the Marlboro Man"), but somehow they fell in love. It's a good read if you like sappy love stories! Make sure you start at the very beginning, though.

Anyway, the Pioneer Woman also has a recipe blog, which is where I found this recipe. Her recipes are great because she is a FABULOUS photographer and she takes a picture of every step of the recipe--great photos, great food.

I made this on the 4th of July and we had the dumplings with homemade vanilla ice cream--WOW! YUMMY!

Apple Dumplings
(The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

2 Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 small can Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples. Cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Caramel Cashew Chewies

The crust of these cookies is quite "hearty" and at least makes you feel like you are eating something substantial. These keep well and almost taste better as the days pass. (I made these when I was at my parents in CA, so I don't have a picture for these or the next few posts--SORRY!)

Caramel Cashew Chewies
(Taste of Home's Simple & Delicious, Jul/Aug 2008)

3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. old-fashioned oats
1 pkg (14 oz) caramels
1/3 c. half-n-half cream
1 c. semisweet chocolate chunks
1 c. salted cashew halves, chopped

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg. Stir in flour and oats. Press into a 9 X 13 pan, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine caramels and cream. Cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring occasionally. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with chocolate chunks and cashews.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until chocolate is melted. Cool on wire rack before cutting.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie

I first made this pie last year, the month it came out on the cover of Bon Appetit. It is so good, I have made it numerous times since. I just made it again last week while here in CA at my parents house.
Don't be scared off by the steps--each one is quite easy and can be done simultaneously. I have eliminated one step by just putting all of the ice cream in first, spreading the lemon curd on, then freezing (rather than layering and freezing in between each step)--still looks and tastes great! Bon Appetit!

Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pie
(Bon Appetit, April 2007)

Lemon curd
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

3 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened, divided

4 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar

For lemon curd: Whisk eggs and egg yolks in medium bowl. Melt butter in medium metal bowl set over large saucepan of simmering water. Whisk in sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, and salt; gradually whisk in egg mixture. Whisk until thick and thermometer inserted into curd registers 178°F to 180°F, about 8 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Press plastic wrap on top of curd; chill 4 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

For crust: Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix pecans, sugar, and butter in medium bowl until moistened. Press pecan mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish (mixture will be crumbly). Bake until crust is lightly toasted, about 12 minutes (crust will slip down sides of dish). Use back of spoon to press crust back into place. Cool crust on rack. Freeze crust 30 minutes.
Dollop 1 1/2 cups ice cream over crust; spread into even layer. Spread lemon curd over ice cream; freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Dollop 1 1/2 cups softened ice cream over lemon curd; spread into even layer. Cover and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

For meringue: Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in medium bowl until frothy. Beat in cream of tartar. With mixer running, gradually add sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Spoon meringue over pie, spreading to seal at edges and swirling decoratively. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Freeze pie. Using kitchen butane torch, toast meringue until golden in spots or place pie in a preheated 500°F oven until meringue is golden in spots, watching to prevent burning, about 3 minutes. Cut pie into wedges; serve immediately.