Friday, November 7, 2014

Southwestern Spaghetti Pie

If anyone in your family enjoys spicy food, this is the recipe for you!  It can easily be adapted to add or decrease the heat by switching the meat, omitting the Rotel tomatoes and chilis, and decreasing the chili powder and pepper.  

8 ounces of spaghetti (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste)
1/2 cup of milk
1 egg
1 pound of ground pork (if you want it really spicy, use the hot - less spice use 95% ground beef or turkey)
1 medium pepper, seeded and diced
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 10 ounce can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chili's, drained (I used mild)
8 ounces of grated cheese - I mixed Monterey Jack and Cheddar.

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Cook spaghetti per directions.  Drain the pasta, Whisk together the milk and egg in a large bowl, and add the drained pasta.  Spread in a (use Pam) 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
3.  While pasta is cooking, brown the sausage, onion, green pepper and garlic.  Cook till pork is no longer pink, and drain or blot excess grease.
4.  Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Stir in the tomato sauce and drained tomatoes/chilis and cook for a few more minutes.
5.  Spread the meat mixture over the pasta, and sprinkle both cheeses evenly over the top.
6.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheeses are melted and casserole is bubbling.
7.  Let stand for 5 minutes, cut into squares and serve.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spicy Meatballs and Sauce

This recipe was based off a Giada's turkey meatball recipe, but changed a bit.  First, Wegmans was out of ground turkey tonight, so I substituted 95% lean ground beef, I also made a few more changes.  Here's my recipe:

1 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup of fresh parsley (Italian flat leaf type)
1 Tablespoon of ketchup
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of gr. black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
2 large garlic cloves
1 small onion, finely chopped

1 pound of turkey sausage, casings removed
1 pound of 95% lean ground beef

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover a large baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper, or spray with non-stick spray (like PAM).  Cut the onion in chunks, add the two garlic cloves, and the fresh basil leaves, and the fresh parsley - pulse in a food processor till finely chopped.  Beat two eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Add the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, onions, garlic, spices, and ketchup. Blend well with a large fork or spoon.  Add the meat.  Mix the mixture well with your hands, until everything is blended.  Form large balls (about 1 1/2 diameter).  I had 23.  Place on the baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, turn then bake another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (rinsed can and added about 1/4 can of juice/water)
1 28 ounce can of Hunts regular Tomato sauce
fresh herbs (I used thyme, basil, spicy basil, oregano, and Italian flat leaf parsley)
a spoon full of granulated sugar
1/2 cup or so of red wine
2 bay leaves
teaspoon of black pepper
dash of red pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic pressed
1/2 large onion, chopped
olive oil (about 1 Tablespoon)
additional dried basil, oregano, and thyme to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Saute' garlic and onion till softed.  Add the crushed tomatoes, sauce, and water.  Add wine, sugar, spices.  Simmer for about 20-30 minutes.  When meatballs are done, add them gently to the sauce.

Prepare pasta of choice according to box directions.  I like to use Penne, spirals, or rigatoni with sauce.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pulled Pork Pizza!

In the mood for a different type of pizza?  Try this pulled pork pizza - it will hit the spot!

I used the Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast, about 1 pound of pulled pork (I bought Wegman's from their dinner to go counter - they sell it by the pound), about 1/3 of a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce {I tried the vidalia onion because I wanted a savory BBQ sauce}, half a red onion, and one green pepper, and one 8 ounce bag of Wegmans pizza blend shredded cheese.  The pizza blend has provolone in it, which I really like for my pizzas. I used 2 of the yeast packets, because I have a large pizza pan, and we like a thicker crust.  So:

about 4 1/2 cups of flour (divided - start with 2 cups)
2 envelopes of pizza yeast
3 teaspoons of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/3 cup of very warm water
6 Tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat the over to 425 degrees.  Spray pizza pan with PAM.

Combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the water and oil.  Mix until well blended.  Gradually add the remaining flour, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Dough will be sticky, but forming a ball shape.  Knead on a floured surface, adding additional flour if the dough gets too sticky.  Knead about 4 minutes, and either roll or press the dough so it fits in the pizza pan.

Meanwhile, slice the pepper into rings, and slice the onion into thin semi-circles.  Saute' in a bit of oil still softened.  Squeeze the BBQ sauce on the crust, then smooth into a thin, even layer.  Top evenly with the pulled pork.

Add the sliced peppers and onions, and then sprinkle liberally with cheese.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes, or till crust is a golden brown and cheese is melted.  Yum, dig in! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Easy Peasy Cherry Crisp

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick of butter
2 16 ounce cans of cherry pie filling
1 teaspoon of almond extract
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1/4 of chopped slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put flour, oats, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Add the stick of softened butter, and using a pastry cutter, mix until the ingredients are crumbly.  Spray a large pie pan with PAM, and press about 1/2 the crumbs on the bottom and up the sides to form a crust.  Put in the two cans of cherry pie filling.  Drizzle with the fresh lemon juice, and the almond extract.  Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on the top to form a "crust".  Sprinkle the chopped almonds on top.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.

Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Soup

adapted from Rachel Ray's Sausage & Broccoli Rabe Stoup

1 large bunch of Broccoli Rabe, cleaned and chopped
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 pound of turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic minced
dash red pepper
garlic powder, thyme leaves to taste
juice of half a fresh lemon
few dashes of nutmeg
1 large can (49 oz) of 100% fat free, 33% lower sodium chicken broth) I use Swanson's.
1 cup of orecchiette pasta (I use the Wegman's gourmet kind)
grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

In large sauce pot, bring a few inches of water to a boil, salt the water, and add  the broccoli rabe.  Cook for 5 minutes, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.  Dry the pot, add the olive oil, and saute the onions and garlic.  I finely chopped mine in the food processor.  Add the turkey sausage (I use mild, but remove the casings to allow for it to crumble), and cook till sausage is no longer pink.  Stir in the seasonings, add the broccoli rabe, and add the broth.  Bring to a boil.  Add the pasta, and cook about 10 more minutes, or till pasta is done.  Garnish with the grated cheese before serving.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Shrimp Etouffee'

Are you ready for some Cajun seafood?

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/1/2 cups chopped onion
2/3 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
About 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon of Cajun seasoning (such as Emeril's)
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dash of ground red pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cups hot cooked white rice

Combine broth, thyme, basil and bay leaf.  Set aside.  Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a large skillet.  When bubbling, add the 1/2 cup of flour.  Whisk continually, and cook the flour till golden brown - about 8 minutes.  Gradually add in the broth, about 1 cup at a time.  Meanwhile, in a large fry pan, add about 1 Tablespoon of butter.  Heat till bubbly, and add onion, celery, and peppers.  Cook till softened.  Add a little water if it starts to stick.  Cook about 10 minutes.  Add to the simmering Roux/broth.  Add in the tomato paste, cajun seasoning, garlic, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley.  Stir till combined.  Add in the shrimp, cook till pink (not long).  Serve with white rice.  

S'Mores Bars

2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups of crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
approximately 2 cups of Marshmallow Fluff (from 16 oz. container)
2 cups (1 bag) of milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.  Spray with PAM.  
In a large bowl, beat butter with brown sugar.  Add eggs.  Gradually add the flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, and baking powder.  Beat till well blended.  Dough will be stiff.  Divide dough in half.  Press half (or slightly more) onto the bottom of the pan to cover.  I used a piece of wax paper to help me press the dough down in the pan.  Spread enough fluff to cover the crust.  I did not use the whole container.  Sprinkle liberally with chocolate chips.  Take the remaining dough and dollop over the top.  You want some marshmallow and chips to show through - don't make a solid layer.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.  

My son says this was the best dessert I ever made! If you like S'Mores, you will love these cookie bars.  Recipe originally found in  "All You" magazine.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

King Cake!

Adapted from a Taste of Home Recipe

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) of Rapid Rise Yeast
1/2 cup of warm water (110-115 degrees)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of warm milk
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
Zest from one fresh lemon
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3 -4 cups of all purpose flour
Cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup of granulated sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon)


1 Tablespoon of softened butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
few teaspoons of cream or milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (or can use lemon extract)


1.  Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl.  Add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of softened butter, milk, eggs, salt, lemon zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, and 2 cups of the flour.  Beat till smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Dough will be sticky!
2.  Turn dough onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic.  Add some additional flour if the dough is too sticky. 
3.  Place the dough in a greased bowl.  Turn dough.  Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour - here in Rochester, NY where it is cold, it takes longer!)
4.  Punch down the dough.  Dust a surface with flour.  Roll the dough into a large rectangle, approximately 16 inches by 10 inches.  Sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon sugar, within 1/2 inch of each edge.  Roll up the dough, jelly-roll style from the LONG side.  Pinch the seams to seal closed.  Place seam side down on a baking sheet (covered with parchment paper), pinch the ends together to form a ring.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about another hour. 
5.  Bake at 375 in a pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack till warm.  Spread Glaze over top, and let drizzle down the sides.  Sprinkle the cake with Mardis Gras colored sugars:  Purple (justice), Green (faith), and Gold/Yellow (Power).  If desired, put a slit in the bottom of the cake when cool and insert a "baby" token.  (I get the plastic babies from Michael's in the Cake Decorating section).  Traditionally, the person who gets the slice of cake with the baby inside has to make the King Cake for the next year.  In my house, we say the person who gets the baby has a year of good luck! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Easy Pizza Spaghetti Casserole

12 ounce box of pasta (I use Ronzoni Smart Taste thin spaghetti)
1 pound of mild turkey sausage links (remove casings)
2 ounce pepperoni, sliced (I used the big sandwich pepperoni, cut in quarters)
1 26 ounce jar of tomato basil pasta sauce
1 8 ounce can of Hunts tomato sauce (with basil, garlic, and oregano)
1/4 cup of grated Romano cheese
1 8 ounce package of Italian blended cheese (I used Kraft with a touch of Philadelphia)

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, and place in 9 x 12 casserole dish sprayed with PAM.  Brown sausage in a large skillet till no longer pink (about 5 minutes).  Remove.  Add pepperoni, and cook till slightly crispy  - a few minutes.  Pour sauces in pan, and add in 1/2 the pepperoni, and all the sausage.  Add in 1 teaspoon of dried basil, and a clove of garlic, pressed.  Simmer a few minutes till blended.  Pour meat sauce mixture over pasta in casserole pan.  Top with cheeses.  Arrange the other 1/2 of the pepperoni on the top.  Cover with foil (you can spray with PAM to keep it from sticking), and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Serve with a tossed green salad and garlic bread.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Classic Lasagna

1.25 pounds 95% lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed

2 15 ounce cans Hunts tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
about 1 teaspoon of basil
fresh, chopped parsley
garlic powder
black pepper to taste
splash of cooking sherry
about 1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of oregano or Italian seasoning

1 15 ounce container of part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
chopped fresh parsley
dash of nutmeg
dash of black pepper

3 cups of pizza blend shredded cheese (mozzarella and provolone)
grated Romano cheese

8 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained per directions

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Brown meat in a large skillet, and add in onion and garlic.  Cook till softened.  Add in tomato sauce, and season with ingredients listed. Simmer sauce about 1/2 hour.   Adjust to taste.  Meanwhile, beat the egg, add the ricotta, and seasons.  Set aside.  Boil noodles, and drain.  To assemble - spray a  15 x 10 pan, then put a few spoons of sauce on the bottom.  Layer 3 noodles.  Use 1/3 of the ricotta, then 1 cup of mozzarella, and sprinkle with Romano cheese.  Top with about 1/3 of sauce mixture.  Layer two more times.  Cover the casserole with tin foil, and bake at 350 degrees for  30-45 minutes, or till hot and bubbly.

Butternut Squash and Turkey Sausage Soup

1 pound of mild Turkey sausage links, casings removed
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 red or orange pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 20 ounce package of cut butternut squash (Wegmans), cut into bite sized chunks
1/2 package (8 ounces) of frozen corn
5-6 cups of chicken broth (I use Swanson's lower sodium, low fat)
1 can of Hunts fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained
1 can of Northern beans, 15 ounces, rinsed
1 bunch of fresh spinach, washed and chopped.  (I de-stem, too)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
about 1/2 teaspoon of basil and thyme
a few dashes of hot sauce
minced fresh parsley

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil, and cook and crumble sausage.  Add in onion, diced pepper,  and garlic, and cook till soft.  Add in butternut squash, and then when things start to stick, pour in the broth, and then the other ingredients and spices.  Simmer of low for about 1/2 hour, or till squash is tender.  Add more broth if necessary.  Serve with grated Romano cheese.

This soup can easily be adapted and changed to ingredients on hand.  If you want more of a Mexican flavor, omit the basil and thyme, and season with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder.  Substitute fresh cilantro for the parsley.  You could top with some crushed corn chips, and a Mexican blend cheese, too!

This soup was wonderful on a cold winter night!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Turkey Sausage, Lentil, and Kale Soup

1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound of turkey sausage, remove casings
4 cloves of garlic
2 bayleaves
1 onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, diced finely
1 bunch Kale, or a half a large bunch, de-stemmed, and chopped [spinach would also be good]
1/2 cup red wine
8 cups of chicken broth (Swanson's no fat, less salt)
1 8 ounce can of Hunt's tomato sauce
1 and 1/4 cup of lentils
salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and basil to taste
1 cup of DeCecco  farfelline dry (cooked and rinsed)
Pecorino Romano

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil.  Remove sausage casings, add to hot oil, break up and brown.  I put the onion and carrot in chunks in a food processor, and pulsed till finely diced.  Add the garlic cloves to this mixture, or press the garlic.  Saute' with the sausage till soft.  Add bayleaves, spices, and red wine.  Reduce slightly.  Add the tomato sauce and stir for a minute or two.  Adjust spices to taste, and add a dash of cayenne or chili powder (I did by accident, and it was good!).  Pour in the 8 cups of chicken broth or stock, and add the lentils.  Simmer.  Wash and chop the kale, and add that, too.  Simmer till lentils are cooked - about 30 minutes.  After soup has simmered about 15 minutes, boil water, and cook 1 cup of farfelline pasta (little bows).  You can use any small pasta, like elbows or shells, too.  Rinse and add to the soup when it is almost done.  Garnish with freshly chopped Italian parsley and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  I served the soup with garlic breadsticks, and a tossed green salad.  Remove the bayleaves before serving.