Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bowtie Lasagna

Since I was a slacker and did not write down when I made this recipe, I'm just guessing on the date of this post. I got the recipe from Tasty Kitchen after The Pioneer Woman blogged about it back in July.

The only real difference was that I put it in a casserole dish and added extra cheese (go figure) melting the whole thing in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or so. Delicious. Pretty much just another way to make a baked ziti, but since I love baked ziti, I think it's okay to add another recipe.

Broccoli & Rice Casserole

After hitting a wall of not being able to consume any more roasted broccoli (Hubby's favorite and pretty much only vegetable) I wanted to try something new with broccoli (we buy broccoli in bulk from CostCo...seriously, we eat A LOT of broccoli) as a side dish to some simple ham steaks. I perused a few of my favorite foodie websites and noticed a lot of broccoli casseroles that were pretty much the same. I decided to take some of the most interesting aspects of each and see what happened with a can of baked beans in the pantry as a back up plan ;-)

Rachael's Broccoli & Rice Casserole
Serves 6

1 lb fresh broccoli
1 cup cooked rice (I used an Uncle Ben's microwave Brown and Wild rice packet)
1 small can of sliced mushrooms, drained
1 small onion, diced
1 cup of milk
1 can cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom, whatever you have on hand)
4 oz shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
1 cup dried bread crumbs (or a mixture of bread crumbs and crumbled Ritz crackers)
2 Tbsp butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and bring a pot of water up to a boil.
  2. Once water is boiling, cook cut up broccoli for about 5 minutes, remove and drain.
  3. In a small skillet fry the bacon slices, onion and mushrooms together, remove and put on a paper towel to drain.
  4. In large bowl mix together milk, soup, and shredded cheese until combined.
  5. Add in the broccoli, rice, bacon, onion and mushrooms and stir to coat.
  6. Put the mixture into a casserole dish.
  7. In a small bowl mix the melted butter and bread crumbs together and pour onto casserole.
  8. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.
Not so bad...a bit crummy...will still take some more attempts to get the seasoning worked out, but it was a nice break from my standard roasted broccoli...a bit heartier to say the very least.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs for Megan

A month or so ago a dear friend subtly shared a blog post with me in the hopes that I would make these delicious balls of meat for her someday. Well someday has come and meatballs have been made! I made a few alterations to both the meatball and the sauce recipes mentioned in the blog post and this is what I came up with - I believe it was well received as it as leftovers were not hard to pass along ;-)

Spaghetti and Meatballs for Megan

3 slices of white bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup skim milk
white onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dried basil (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cans of San Marzano tomatoes (both whole, or one whole and one crushed)
Handful of fresh basil, torn
Red pepper flakes, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 40o and grease a large cookie sheet (you may need one large and one small...I ended up with around 30 meatballs when all was said and done).
  2. In a small bowl, tear the slice of white bread into small pieces and cover with the milk. Mix with a fork until paste-like and set aside.
  3. In a small skillet sauté 1/2 of the chopped onion and 3 of the garlic cloves together in some olive oil.
  4. In a large bowl, combine (using your hands people, not a spoon...just like yo momma's meatloaf!) your beef, pork, onion/garlic mixture, milky bread mixture, oregano, basil, parsley, Parmesan, cinnamon, and eggs.
  5. Roll the meatball mixture into your desired size balls and place on the cookie sheet(s).
  6. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
  7. While the meatballs are baking, you can prepare the sauce, in a large stock pot/dutch oven sauté the remaining onion and garlic in a good amount of olive oil (the more oil, the more flavor will be added into the sauce...go nuts).
  8. If using two cans of whole tomatoes, break out the food processor and pretty much puree one of the cans leaving the other whole. Add both to the stock pot breaking up any large chunks of tomatoes with a spoon to your favorite consistency.
  9. Simmer on the stove for around 15 or 20 minutes.
  10. Once the meatballs are cooked, add them directly to the stock pot to help flavor the sauce.
  11. Right before serving, stir in the torn basil leaves. I served with penne, even though yes, I called this "spaghetti" and meatballs.
I enjoyed the meatballs (KR: 8 Stars) more than the sauce (KR: 4 Stars) for this recipe and will probably continue working on the sauce. Or, boy oh boy, perhaps combine the meatballs with our favorite meat sauce recipe...oh man...can we really handle this potential awesomeness???

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taco Soup

Taco soup is delicious. Let's just put it out there. I got this recipe from a friend who made it for us after we came home from the hospital, baby in tow. I swiped the recipe from her before it could be thrown away and have been making it obsessively ever since. It can be made stove top, or crock pot...and is pretty customizable. Below is my favorite variety =)

Taco Soup
Serves 6
Estimated Point Value: 6 pts

1 lb ground beef
1 package Taco seasoning
1 small chopped onion
1 can condensed tomato soup (I use a Healthy Request version)
1 1/2 cups water (I usually just fill up the empty tomato soup can twice with water...gets out the extra tomato goodness too!)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn

  1. Brown together the beef, onion, and Taco seasoning (some days when I'm feeling "smoky" I add in extra cumin) in a dutch oven, stock pot, or soup pot (depending on your level of, I have a "soup pot"...someday I shall own a dutch oven...a pretty one...)
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir.
  3. Simmer on stove top until you just can't stand it any longer.
  4. Serve with chips, sour cream, shredded cheese...go nuts! (All "toppings" are additional estimated point value is for the base soup only).
I have made this with kidney beans also...they tend to hold up a little better if you want to throw this soup in the crock pot. Either way is delicious and I have a hard time cutting myself off at one bowl...but usually talk myself down by the third...I mean...what!?