Farfalle with Zucchini and White Beans

Farfalle wzucchini and white beans

With all of the zucchini and summer squash coming out of just two plants in our garden I knew that I couldn’t get away with making only baked goods if I planned to use as much of the veggie as possible. This recipe was a treasure of a find! It comes together so quickly and tastes so good!

While the pasta is boiling, the squash and pepper are sauteing. The beans and pasta just need to be added and heated through. Seriously, this takes 15 minutes tops to get it from stove top to table.

It is a vegetarian dish and since we are not vegetarians I was surprised that the beans added the “meat” like texture to the dish. I guess you can tell I don’t cook with beans super often. The next day I did add in a bit of shredded chicken but it really didn’t add much to the dish. Simple and tasty, what’s not to like? Enjoy!

Farfalle with Zucchini and White Beans
Source: Health

6 ounces uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small zucchini or summer squash (about 6 ounces), cut into small strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 small orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into small strips
1/2 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
Parmesan cheese (for garnish)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in zucchini, salt, and pepper; cook until the zucchini begins to soften (2-3 minutes), stirring frequently. Stir in the bell pepper and beans; cook until bell pepper is softened (about 2 minutes), stirring frequently.

Add pasta to skillet; cook until heated through (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Serve in bowls; top with Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 – 1 cup servings

Egg Roll in a Bowl

After a very long hiatus I have decided to see if I can update our food blog more consistently. I have thought about it fleetingly over the past several months but with work it seems that there is already enough going on around here.

So, what is bringing you to do it now if your circumstances haven’t changed, you may be asking? It is purely a selfish reason. I am tired of having to go to multiple places to look for the recipes that I like and seem to be using often in my weekly menus.

I might not have pictures for some of these newer posts, at least not until I make the item again and decide to snap a photo of it, but at least these will serve as place markers for me especially for the purpose of why I am updating. Hopefully you’ll enjoy some of these recipes that we have found over the past year or more of being on a holiday from blogging. Enjoy!

Egg Roll in a Bowl
Source: Gluten Free Makeover

1 pound ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 package coleslaw mix
1 teaspoon grated ginger
3-4 tablespoons Braggs liquid aminos
1-2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or white vinegar)

Cook the ground pork until done; remove from pan, leaving the drippings. Add onion, garlic, and celery to the pan and saute until nearly cooked through. Add the coleslaw mix and continue to cook about 15 minutes. Mix in the cooked ground pork. Add the ginger, Braggs, and vinegar. Allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Can be served over steamed rice or noodles.

Makes 4 servings

Garlic Ham and Potatoes

Garlic Ham and Potatoes

I know you might be thinking that there have been a lot of sweets on here lately, and you’d be right. With all of the holidays and birthdays happening around here this time of year seems to be one big sugar fest. I guess you can think of this recipe as protesting the sugar overload.

As far as main dishes go, this wasn’t too bad. In fact, we’ve already had it a few times so that should tell you something. I would recommend only using ham though. Don’t let your husband add in the leftover prosciutto. Besides that, enjoy!

Garlic Ham and Potatoes
Source: Taste of Home

8 small red potatoes
1 tablespoon canola oil
16 ounces of broccoli, cut
1 cup cooked ham, cubed
1 envelope herb with garlic soup mix

In a large skillet, cook potatoes in oil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in the broccoli, ham, and dry soup mix. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Makes about 4 servings

Cheesy Chicken Shells

Cheesy Chicken Shells

This is a great entree! It looks like it would be time consuming but it isn’t really that bad. It’s even faster if you pre-cook the chicken or use a rotisserie chicken that is already roasted. We thought that it was filling and it worked great the next day for leftovers. A win-win around this house. Enjoy!

Cheesy Chicken Shells
Source: Weight Watchers Online

12 jumbo shells, uncooked
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cup part-skim Ricotta cheese
4 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast, roasted or baked
3/4 cups chopped spinach, steamed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground oregano
3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

Cook jumbo shells in boiling water according to the package. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Spread 1/2 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of the pan and set aside.

For filling: In a large bowl, stir together the egg whites, Ricotta cheese, chicken spinach, garlic powder, and Oregano. Stir in 1/4 cup each of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

To assemble: Spoon cheese mixture into cooked shells. Place filled shells in a single layer in the baking dish. Spread remaining tomato on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes.

Makes 12 shells (3 shells per serving)

Herbed Rib Roast

Herbed Rib Roast

We seem to have fallen into a pattern for our holiday meals. Thanksgiving is always turkey, Easter is always ham, and Christmas seems to be some type of roast. I believe the last two years it was prime rib but this year we just went with a basic rib roast. No much of a difference, maybe just the quality of the cut of meat. I sure surprised at the price of the meat though. Yikes!

Even though it was a bit expensive, it was tasty. I liked the flavor that the rub gave to the meat and the fact that it was easy to prepare. I also loved the fact that we bought a new meat thermometer that stayed in the meat and read the temp while it was in the oven. Priceless! Enjoy!

Herbed Rib Roast
Source: Weight Watchers

4 pounds uncooked lean whole beef rib roast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons reduced calorie mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoon horseradish sauce
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Season roast with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine garlic, mustard, mayonnaise, and horseradish to make “mustard mixture”.

In another small bowl, combine the parsley, thyme, dill and 1 tablespoon of the “mustard mixture”; set aside for seasoning during the roasting time.

Place meat, rib bone down, in a roasting pan; coat top with half of the “mustard mixture”. Cook meat until an instant read thermometer inserted in center of roast registers 110 degrees F. Coat roast with other half of the “mustard mixture” and press herb mixture onto mustard with your hands.

Continue cooking roast until a thermometer inserted in center of meat registers 140 degrees F for medium or longer until desired degree of doneness. Cover loosely with foil and then let stand 20-30 minutes before carving into 12 thick slices.

Makes 12 servings (1 slice per serving)

Roast Turkey

Carved Roasted Turkey

I tried a new turkey recipe for Thanksgiving this year. I usually oil up the bird, shake on some salt, pepper, and paprika, and seal it in a brown paper bag and let it bake. The only problem is that turkeys don’t seem like my oven. Every Thanksgiving the turkey always, and I mean always, takes longer than the projected time. So frustrating.

This year I decided to go away from the norm and try a new recipe hoping that this would also solve the uncooked bird dilemma that has been haunting me for years. I whipped up the rub, lifted up the skin, and rubbed it into the meat. I would have to say that this was a first for me. The bird was easy to make and required no basting throughout the roasting process.

I am sad to say that it didn’t solve the cooking dilemma. Still, after the projected amount of time for the size of the bird it was not all the way done. At least I’ve learned to anticipate this and roll with the punches. I time my side dishes to be done at least 30 minutes after the turkey. Whew!

The other downfall was that I wasn’t left with enough liquid to make the gravy. Not sure how it was all sucked into the bird but it was not there in the bottom of the pan. I guess it’s good that I had some jar stuff in the cupboard. I haven’t included the ingredients for the gravy in the recipe below. The turkey was tasty (once it finished roasting). Enjoy!

Roast Turkey
Source: Taste of Home magazine

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (12-14 lb) turkey
1 large onion, quartered
1 (10 oz) package white mushrooms
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large roasting pan and rack with nonstick spray.

Mix garlic, soy sauce, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Remove neck and giblets from turkey cavities and discard. Drain turkey; pat dry. Slip your fingers under skin covering breast to create pockets over both breast halves and legs. Rub garlic mixture into meat under skin. Close cavities with metal skewers. Tuck wings under breast and tie legs with kitchen string.

Scatter onion and white mushrooms in roasting pan. Put turkey, breast side up, on rack. Add 1 cup broth to pan; roast 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into inner thigh (without touching bone) registers 180 degrees F, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Place turkey on cutting board. Tent with foil; let stand 20 minutes.

Remove string and carve turkey; serve with gravy. Remove skin before eating.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Who knew that vegetables had some many uses! Well, I guess I did, but still . . . this was my first attempt at making a meatless version of lasagna and it turned out pretty well.

We had some friends over for dinner and one of our guests was vegetarian. Last time we had them over for dinner she ended up bringing a little something for her main dish. This time though I wanted to be able to make everything for dinner and not have to have her bring her own food. Since Fall is now here it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a winter squash lasagna dish.

I wasn’t sure how I should cook the squash. Some recipes called for baking it, some steaming it, some boiling. I tried microwaving it for a very short timeframe but soon gave up on that idea. I peeled it, cut it into chunks, and threw it in a pan with a bit of water to steam it soft. It worked great! Once the squash was steamed I threw it in the blender and pureed it smooth. All this was happening while the noodles were boiling.

It came together smoothly and tasted great. I think the leftovers may have been even better than the first round. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Lasagna
Source: Weight Watchers

10 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles (about 12 noodles)
24 ounces butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1 inch squares
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups fat-free evaporated milk
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Boil lasagna noodles to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Place diced butternut squash into a large skillet. Pour 1/2 cup the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor/blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Place flour in a small saucepan and very gradually whisk in milk and garlic. Warm over low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce simmers and is thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Spread 1/4 cup of cheese sauce over bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass or metal pan. Cover with 3 lasagna noodles; top with 1/3 of squash and 1/2 cup of cheese sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of raisins. Cover with 3 more lasagna noodles and spread with 1/3 of remaining squash and 1/2 cup of cheese sauce; sprinkle with 1/4 cup of raisins. Cover with 3 more lasagna noodles and top with remaining squash and raisins; cover with last 3 lasagna noodles, pressing sheets firmly down. Top with remaining cheese sauce; sprinkle with pine nuts and remaining mozzarella cheese

Bake until lasagna bubbles around edges and is browned on top, about 30 minutes.

Makes 8 servings  (1 serving = 9 points on weight watchers points plus)

Homemade Pesto and Pasta

First time ever making pesto from scratch! I’m pretty sure this may have been my very first time eating pesto. Ever.

I don’t know why I’ve never eaten it before. I like the color green. I don’t shy away from green foods. I guess I just didn’t know what the flavor was going to be like.

That and I was a bit nervous seeing that steamed spinach was in the recipe. I can’t seem to do steamed greens. Any kind of wilting for me just doesn’t endear me to that food. I like crisp lettuce in my salads and I am picky with the veggies I steam.

The first serving was pretty good. The flavor was very mild, more garlic than anything. The next day though it was a bit stronger. I’m not sure if pesto gets stronger when it sits, but it definitely had more flavor. Flavor isn’t a bad thing. Enjoy!

Pesto Sauce with Pasta
1 lb. spinach, lightly steamed
1 large package fresh basil, leaves only
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large tomato or 2 Roma tomatoes
4 oz. Parmesan cheese, shredded
3 garlic cloves
salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
22 oz. whole-wheat pasta, cooked
optional: chopped steamed vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, or broccoli)

Purée the spinach, basil, oil, tomatoes, Parmesan, garlic, salt, and walnuts in a high powered
blender. Toss with cooked pasta; sprinkle with extra shredded Parmesan
cheese. Add chopped steamed vegetables and toss.

Makes 8 servings

Vegetarian Chili

I’m not one to shy away from meat so I definitely did not go searching for a vegetarian recipe. In fact, you can probably say that I was a bit skeptical that this was really going to be like chili. Chili, with no meat, just doesn’t sound right.

Surprisingly it was very good! In fact, so good that we have made it more than once. Imagine that! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili
2 – 15 oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed well
2 C water, for canned beans
1 C uncooked brown rice, rinsed well
1 diced yellow onion
2 – 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 – 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-2 bay leaves

In a large stock pot, combine all ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour.  Remove bay leaves. Serve.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Daring Bakers – Empanadas

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

Back to the Daring Bakers challenges after a two month break and it feels good! Our September challenge was to make Empanadas. I had heard of these before but had yet to make one. Well, nothing like making both a savory and sweet version on the same day, right?

I wanted to make a savory version for dinner. This recipe was fabulous because it actually used things out of my pantry. Have you ever tried to make a recipe that says that it uses ingredients out of the pantry yet you run across something that just isn’t in a normal person’s pantry? I know that sounds a bit silly, but this recipe actually used things from my pantry. No extra trips to the store!

I chose to make the wheat flour Empanada dough and fill it with shredded chicken, black beans, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, and cream cheese. Yum, yum, yum! The flavors melded together beautifully! The dough was a dream to work with. I didn’t even use any extra flour because it wasn’t necessary.

 (By the way, the dog bone on top is in celebration of our dog’s 8th birthday – the day of our Empananda smorgasboard!)

Savory Empanada Dough
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon of liquid fat (I used olive oil)
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika

Sift the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add all of the ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until all of the ingredients have been incorporated.

Turn dough onto the counter and knead for 5 to 8 minutes. Shape into a ball and allow to rise covered with a cloth for 30-50 minutes before using.

While the dough is rising, mix up the filling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the pan (round or square, approximately 9×9). Divide the dough in half. Roll out bottom crust (it will be slightly larger than the top piece). Place bottom crust in pan; add filling. Roll out top crust; place on top. Pinch seam of top and bottom crust. Use extra crust for decoration on top. Pierce top crust with fork for venting; brush with egg wash.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove and serve warm.

Empanada Filling
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
tomatoes, diced
4 oz. cream cheese, softened

*****              *****            *****             *****

The apple pear empanada was also amazing! It tasted just like apple pie. I made the crust thin enough that it wasn’t too bread like and was very similar to pie crust. It wasn’t quite as flaky as my traditional pie crust but it was delicious. I would definitely recommend this! Enjoy!


Sweet Empanada Crust
Same recipe as above, just add 2 tablespoons of sugar to dry ingredients.

Apple Pear Filling
Source: Vegephant

2 apples
3 pears
2 tablespoons of agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour

Cut apples and pears into slices or chunks. Mix together. Drizzle the fruit with agave nectar and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar, salt, and flour on the mixture. Mix and let set.