Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oven Ready Lasagna

From Creamette Brand
Serves 10-12 servings

1 lb ground beef
2 cups (about 28 oz jar) spaghetti sauce
1 cup (8 oz can) tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
12 pieces oven ready lasagna, uncooked and unsoaked
4 cups (16 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Remove 12 pieces of past from package.
2. Heat oven to 375 degrees
3. In large skillet, cook meat until browned; remove from heat and drain. Stir in spaghetti and tomato sauces. In small bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, egg, basil and oregano.
4. In 13x9x2-inch baking dish, spread 3/4 cup meat sauce.
5. Place 2 pieces uncooked pasta crosswise over sauce. (Pieces should not overlap or touch side of pan since they will expand when baked.)
6. Spread about 2/3 cup ricotta mixture evenly over past. Spread 3/4 cup meat suace evenly over ricotta covering past completely. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 TWO more times.
8. Top with remaining three pasta pieces. Spread remaining meat sauce completely over pasta; sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
9. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes; remove foil. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with additional sauce, if desired.

Make Ahead Directions:
Prepare recipe as directed; DO NOT BAKE. Cover with plastic wrap, then foil. Refrigerate up to 24 hours or freeze up to 2 months. Remove plastic wrap; replace foil. Bake refrigerated lasagna at 375 degrees about 40 minutes and frozen lasagna about 1 hour 30 minutes, removing foil during last 10 minutes of baking.


Inside-Out Manicotti

Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 20-23 minutes

½ pound dry ziti pasta
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 lb ground beef (optional)
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. In a large saucepan, heat oil over moderately high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until onion is translucent. (If you include ground beef and mushrooms, cook both and drain, before you cook the onion) Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to moderately low. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. (Add the ground beef/mushroom mix to the tomato mixture.) In a medium bowl, blend together ricotta, mozzarella, egg, black pepper, and nutmeg. Cover the bottom of a 2 ½ quart baking dish with about 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Layer with half the ziti, half of the cheese mixture, 2 more cups of the tomato sauce, and remaining ziti. Top with remaining cheese mixture and sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 23 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melt.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage

Adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food
Recipe found at efnrecipes

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes with juice, lightly crushed with hands (or crushed tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound rigatoni
10 ounces baby spinach (I double the amount of spinach - fresh or frozen)
12 ounces smoked chicken (or turkey) sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 ounces fontina (or mozzarella) cheese, 4 ounces cut into 1/2-inch cubes and 2 ounces coarsely grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Cook for another minute.

Stir in tomatoes and oregano; cook until tomatoes are falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes. Add cream; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Add spinach, and cook just until wilted. Drain, and return contents to pot.

Add tomato sauce, sausage, and cubed fontina to pot; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly between two shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dishes. Top with grated fontina and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.


Make Your Own

Found at Mom Advice

What a great collection of seasonings and mixes. My first thought was to keep this list with my food storage, but then again, why not use them for every day meals. Hope you enjoy.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Seasoning Mix


4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Mix well. Store in an airtight container. Use this as a substitute for store bought pumpkin pie spice. Yield: 7 1/2 teaspoons.

Homemade Poultry Seasoning Mix


2 tsp. ground sage
1 ½ tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. ground marjoram
¾ tsp ground rosemary
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp finely ground black pepper

Mix well. Store in an airtight container. Use this as a substitute for store bought poultry seasoning.

Homemade Rice Seasoning Mix


¾ cup chicken bouillon granules
½ cup dried parsley
1 tbsp. basil
1 tbsp dill weed
2 tbsp, dried onion flakes
1 tsp seasoning salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped (optional)

Mix together and store in an airtight container. When preparing rice, combine 1 cup rice, 2 cups water, and three tablespoons of the seasoning. Bring your water to a boil and add rice & seasoning. Reduce to simmer and cook for eighteen minutes.

Homemade Baking Mix (AKA Bisquick)


5 ½ cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp baking powder

Mix all ingredients well until crumbly. Store in an air tight container.

Homemade Italian Dressing Seasoning Mix


1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp ground
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp salt (adjust to your own personal preference)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground basil
¼ tsp ground thyme
½ tsp dried celery flakes

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. To prepare the dressing: Mix two tablespoons of the mix with ¼ cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons of water, and ½ to 2/3 cup olive oil or canola oil.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix


½ cup dry buttermilk
1 tbsp dried parsley, crushed
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in your food processor and grind until it becomes a fine powder. Store in an airtight container. To prepare the dressing: Combine one tablespoon mix with one cup of mayonnaise and one cup milk.

Make-Your-Own Pumpkin Puree



Cut up your pumpkin and dscard peels and any blackened areas. Prepare the pumpkin as you would squash by cutting it into small cubes. Fill a pot with the pumpkin and two inches of water. Cover and boil until soft. Drain water and process in the blender. Freeze in a freezer bag in two cup portions (approximately the size of a can of pumpkin). When puree is thawed it will be a little more watery than the canned version. Just drain a little of the water off and use as directed in your recipe.

Homemade Croutons


6 slices of bread (any kind, but don't tell Martha!)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano, liberal sprinkling of garlic salt (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cube bread into desired size and toss into a bowl. Sprinkle all of the seasonings on top of your bread cubes. Drizzle olive oil over the cubes and then toss gently with your fingers. When all pieces have been coated, put cubes into a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. Allow to cool. Place in an airtight container and these can be stored for up to weeks in this container.

Make-Your-Own Stove Top Stuffing


6 cups cubed bread
1 tbsp parsley flakes
3 tbsp chicken-bouillon powder
¼ cup dried minced onion
½ cup dried minced celery (or fresh celery may be sautéed and added just before cooking)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp sage
1/3 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cubes on a cookie sheet and bake for eight to ten minutes, turning to brown evenly. Cool. In a plastic bag or bowl, toss the cubes with the rest of the ingredients until well coated. Store in a tightly closed container in the pantry for up to four months, or in the freezer for up to a year. To use: Combine two cups stuffing mix with ½ cup water and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Stir to combine thoroughly. Warm on the stove top or in a microwave. Stir again just before serving.

Homemade Shake & Bake


4 cups flour
4 cups ground inexpensive crackers
4 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp garli powder
2 tsp onion powder
3 tbsp paprika
¼ cup vegetable oil

Mix well and store indefinitely in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Homemade Onion Soup Mix


¾ cup instant minced onion
4 tsp onion powder
1/3 cup beef-flavored bouillon powder
¼ tsp celery seed, crushed
¼ tsp sugar

Mix all the ingredients and store in an airtight container. To use, add two tablespoons mix to one cup boiling water. Cover and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Make-Your-Own Canned Tomato Soup


6 ounce can tomato paste
24 ounces milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery seed

Put tomato paste in a small saucepan. Add the milk, salt, & celery seed. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup


½ cup cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla

Mix the cocoa & the water in a saucepan. Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Boil three minutes. Add the salt & the vanilla. Pour into a sterilized pint jar, and store covered in the refrigerator.

Homemade Pancake Syrup


3 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups water
3 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp butter flavoring
1 tsp maple extract

Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Turn off burner, but leave pot on burner until the bubbling stops.

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk


1 cup instant nonfat dry milk solids
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
3 tbsp melted margarine

Combine all ingredients and process with an electric mixer until smooth. This can be stored in the refrigerator until it is ready to be used.

Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup


1 ½ cups chicken broth
½ tsp poultry seasoning
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp parsley
Dash of paprika
1 ½ cups milk
¾ cup flour

In a medium-sized saucepan, boil chicken broth, ½ cup of the milk, and the seasonings for a minute or two. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining one cup of milk and flour. Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until the mixture boils and thickens.

Hobo Pop Tarts


1 package of store-bought pie crust
Jelly of your choice

Roll the dough out flat on a cookie sheet and score it with a knife into squares. Bake until almost done (as directed on the packaging). Spread with jelly or preserves. Bake three more minutes. Put two of the squares together to make a homemade toaster pastry.

Homemade Cocoa Mix


4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (4 oz) package instant chocolate pudding mix

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Place mix in a sifter and sift to make a really fine powder (or you can use your food processor for this step). Store in an airtight container. Add ½ cup of mix to an 8 ounce mug and fill with hot water

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix


1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
2 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
¼ tsp white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a fine powder. Add two-three tablespoons of mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Athenian Orzo

From EatingWell.com

Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, makes a delightful base for an authentically Greek combination of chicken (or shrimp), tomatoes and feta. To serve as a side dish, omit the shrimp and drain the tomatoes before adding them.


1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided (or you can use a tbsp of dry parsley)
1 tablespoon drained capers (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes (or shrimp) (i used 2 chicken breasts and next time I'll add a little bit more)

1 cup orzo (It calls for 1 cup but I felt that was too much, so next time I'll try 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch (or other 3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil.
2. Heat oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, capers, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for 5 minutes. Drop in shrimp and cook, stirring, until barely pink, about 2 1/2 minutes.
3. Cook orzo in the boiling water until tender but still firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Toss with the tomato-shrimp sauce. Sprinkle with feta and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley.
4. Bake, uncovered, until the feta is bubbly, about 10 minutes.



Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Stir Fried Chicken & Asparagus

Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves 2

1 medium onion cut in half and sliced medium thick
1 bunch asparagus cut into 1 inch lengths (about 2 cups when cut) discard bottom fourth
1 TBS chicken broth
1 TBS minced fresh ginger
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into1 inch pieces
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS rice vinegar
pinch red chili flakes
salt and white pepper to taste

Heat 1 TBS broth in a stainless steel wok or 12-inch skillet. Healthy Stir Fry onion and asparagus in broth for about 3 minutes over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Add ginger, garlic, chicken, and continue to stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes stirring constantly. Add soy sauce, vinegar, and red chili flakes. Stir together and cover. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. This may have to cook for an extra couple minutes if the asparagus is thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with brown rice.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Lettuce Wraps

Sorry, not a copycat of PF Chang, but they are delicious and quite nutritious!


1 lb ground beef
6 oz broccoli cole slaw
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
soy sauce


Brown the ground beef and then drain. Put the ground beef pack in the pan and add the broccoli cole slaw, brown rice and add soy sauce to taste (3 tbsp?). Saute together until broccoli cole slaw is limp. Rinse and dry your lettuce pieces and serve with the meat mixture. Season with more soy sauce.

A great side is cooked edemames.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

Recipe from Paula Deen

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.