Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mapley Baked Beans

3 slices of bacon, cooks, crumbled
1 small onion, diced
2 cans (16 ounces) of pork and beans Lately, I have been using Bush's beans Country Style, or Maple Baked Beans.
1/2 Log Cabin Syrup (or other maple flavored syrup)
2 Tablespoons of catsup
1 Tablespoon of mustard
1/2 teaspoon of hot pepper sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cook the bacon in the microwave - generally one minute per slice.  I use the Wegmans low salt, low fat bacon.  Reserve the drippings.  Saute' the onion in the bacon drippings.  Pour beans into a casserole dish.  Stir in the crumbled bacon and onion, syrup, catsup, mustard, and hot pepper sauce.  Mix well.  Bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees until beans are hot and bubbly. 

This makes about 4 cups of beans.  For a larger crowd, I recommend doubling the recipe.  When I take these to dinners, they are always a hit!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pasta with Pancetta and Tomato Sauce

This is a quick pasta dish, that has a different flavor than the usual tomato sauces.  It is nice for a change, and is easy to make on a work day!

6 ounces of pancetta (Italian bacon) diced (can substitute low salt, low fat bacon)
1 Tablespoon of olive oil, or Wegmans basting oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
pinch of red pepper flakes, or ground
1 28 ounce can of tomato puree
1 -2 teaspoons of dried basil
1-2 Tablespoons of cooking sherry or wine
pinch of sugar

box of whole grain angel hair

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet or electric fry pan.  Saute the pancetta till crispy, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion and garlic, and sauté till tender.  Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Stir in the tomato puree.  I swirl a little water in the can to get all of it, and pour that in as well.  Simmer over medium low heat for about 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the angel hair according to package directions, and drain.  Toss the angel hair with the sauce.  Thin with reserved cooking liquid if desired.  Toss with plenty of Pecorino Romano cheese.

Pesto Chicken Penne

This was really delicious, and relatively easy to prepare.  I will definitely make it again!  I tried to use some lighter ingredients, and cut back on the cheese.  You could easily adapt this recipe to veggies and meats you have on hand.  You could even opt out on the meat, and use more mushrooms and veggies.

1 12 oz box of Smart Taste Penne pasta
handful of baby Bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 bag or bunch of spinach, washed
1 bunch of asparagus, sliced on the diagonal
1 small Vidalia or other onion, diced (1/4 of a large onion)
1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed
Wegmans basting oil, or olive oil
1 15 oz jar of light Alfredo sauce (I use Classico brand)
1 15 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, drained slightly
3 cooked or grilled chicken breasts, cut in bite sized chunks
1 6.7 oz jar of basil pesto (I used Wegmans brand)
4 oz of Sargento low fat Italian cheese blend (shredded - in the dairy case)
1-2 Tablespoons of Pecorino Romano, grated

Boil pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  In large skillet or electric fry pan, heat about 1 Tablespoon of Basting oil, then add onions, garlic, mushrooms, and asparagus.  Stir fry till soft - a few minutes.  Add in the spinach, and allow to "wilt" - it will not take long.  Lower the heat to medium, or about 200 degrees.  Add in the alfredo sauce, the pesto, and the drained tomatoes.  Simmer until well blended and warm.  Add in diced chicken.  Stir well to combine.  Add in drained pasta.  Toss well to combine, and allow everything to warm together.  Top with shredded and grated cheeses.  Season with pepper to taste. 

Tortellini and Spinach Soup

A super simple recipe that is really good! 

1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 large can of low salt, non fat chicken broth (I use Swanson's) 49 ounces
1 8 ounce package of fresh cheese tortellini
1 bunch of fresh spinach, washed, de-stemmed, and chopped
pepper to taste
Romano cheese to top
can also add 1/2 can of white beans, rinsed for additional protein

In a large saucepan, combine the onion, carrots, and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Add the tortellini and simmer until they float to the top.  Gradually add the spinach, and allow it to "wilt".  Keep simmering until all the spinach has been added.  Top with grated Romano cheese.  Serve this with a green salad and fresh bread, and you are set for dinner!