Friday, March 30, 2007

Pesto Chango

At the last Bunco night, a few of us were singing the praises of pesto, our favorite blend of basil, olive oil and pine nuts. It's a pricey item for us ($4 or $5 at the deli), so I try to use every last bit and not let any go bad. Here's how I use it.

Pesto Chicken Pasta
Just grill boneless, skinless chicken breasts in an oil-based Italian dressing in a pan and toss with penne pasta and pesto sauce to liking. Top with fresh parmesan and pepper to taste.

Pesto Turkey Quesadillas
Wheat Tortillas
Thin-scliced turkey breast
Mozzarella cheese

Spoon pesto over the entire wheat tortilla and then layer turkey and cheese on one half. Fold over the tortilla and grill (I use a gridle and Smart Balance) until cheese is melted.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
No recipe needed. I just add pesto to the grilled cheese and the soup to add some flavor.

Bachelorette Pesto Pasta
Jason's not a tomato eater, but when he's out of the house, I love to make a simple pasta with a bit of pesto, fresh basil, parmesan and tomatoes.

Do any of you have pesto-using recipes to share so I could change it up?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Not your traditional pasta salad ...

This is my first reference to this woman's cooking, but she is quite possibly a genius(check out her own recipe for an all natural THIN MINT!) This pasta salad is light, delicious, and utterly non-scary as I have always found pasta salads to be. :)

Ravioli Pasta Salad

I used a ricotta-stuffed buckwheat pasta, but any standard cheese-stuffed ravioli will also work if that is what your store offers. Many of you might be able to locate a spinach pasta ravioli - this would be a good alternative as well. I came across some bright red spinach at the market this weekend (red orach German Mt. spinach), so I used 1/2 red and 1/2 standard baby spinach. Use whatever is available to you. I love the color the red spinach adds to the bowl, but the downside is it tends to stain the ravioli a bit (in the way rainbow chard or beets can).

1/2 pound ricotta-stuffed ravioli
1 bunch thin asparagus, cut on deep bias (angle)
10 ounce bag organic peas, thawed overnight in refrigerator
3 - 4 big handfuls baby spinach, washed (any stems removed - optional)
a couple splashes of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
fine grain sea salt
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Prep all of your ingredients ahead of time - cut asparaus, wash spinach, etc.
Into an extra-large pot of well-salted boiling water add the raviolis. After a few minutes, when a couple of the raviolis begin to float, add the asparagus and peas. Because the asparagus is thin and the peas aren't frozen, you'll need to cook them only for about a minute - really quick, just enough to brighten up the peas and give the asparagus a touch of tenderness.

Drain everything into a large colander. Immediately transfer to a large bowl, add the spinach and pine nuts, and gently toss with a couple big splashes of olive oil and a pinch or two of salt. Serve in a big bowl or on a simple platter with a bit shaved Parmesan crumbled on top.

Serves 4 to 6.

Thank you Heidi!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

30 Minute Almond Chicken

- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed
- ¼ cup Italian dressing
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 can green beans (drained)
- 1 cup Minute Rice (uncooked)
- ¼ cup chopped almonds

Toss chicken in dressing; pour into electric skillet/pan on medium high.
Cook chicken on each side 4 minutes or until browned.
Stir in broth, bring to a boil; simmer 10 minutes.
Add green beans; cook 5 minutes or until chicken is done.
Remove chicken from skillet.
Add rice & almonds & mix; remove from heat and let set 5 minutes.

Serve chicken over rice mixture.

From the Kraft Foods Magazine
This has become one of our favorite weekday dinners. You can make it your own by switching out the dressing (we like Roasted Red Pepper Italian) or the nuts or the beans.

Mexican Salad

- lettuce of your choice
- fritos, crushed
- cherry tomatoes
- cubed cheese
- 1/2 lb. ground beef, browned
- 1 can ranch style beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
- Kraft Free Catalina dressing

I know that everyone has their own favorite version of this recipe; this is mine! I'd love to see what ideas you put into your favorite salads for the summer! :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Country Apple Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake:
2 Tablespoons margarine or butter, softened, divided
1 ½ cups chopped peeled apples
1 (12 oz) can refrigerated flaky biscuits
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 ½ teaspoons whiskey, if desired (I leave this out)
1 egg
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces

1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 teaspoons milk

Heat oven to 350 F. Using 1 tablespoon margarine, generously grease 9-inch round cake pan or 8-inch square pan. Spread 1 cup of the apples in greased pan. Separate dough into 10 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Arrange biscuit pieces, points up, over apples. Top with remaining 1/2 cup apples.

In small bowl, combine 1 Tablespoon margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, corn syrup, whiskey and egg; beat 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar is partially dissolved. Stir in pecans, spoon over biscuit pieces and apples.Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, blend all glaze ingredients, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm cake. Serve warm or cool. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 8 servings.

Comments: I have to give credit to Briana for finding this one in the Pillsbury bake-off cookbook and sharing it with me! Thanks's so yummy =)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Black Eyed Pea Soup -- Perfect for Fall!

6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled, drippings reserved
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp pepper4 oz. can chopped green chiles (I used 1-2 fresh serranos, instead)
4 15-1/2 oz cans black eyed peas2
14-1/2oz. cans beef broth
10-oz. can Ro-tel
*I like to add 1-2 packages of whole mushrooms, quartered, to make the soup more hearty

In large sauce pan, mix together onion, garlic, salt, pepper, chiles/serranos, and mushrooms (if you choose to add them), and add to bacon drippings. Saute until onion is golden brown. Add bacon and remaining ingredients. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Remove from heat- makes 8-10 servings.

Make it healthier: cut out the bacon and/or use low sodium broth
Make it Vegetarian/Vegan: Remove the bacon, use veggie broth instead of beef, make sure the black eyed pea cans don't have any bacon bits in them
Make it hotter!: Use HOT Rotel, instead of regular

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Eggplant Parmigiana

2 cups spaghettie sauce
2 small unpeeled eggplants (about 1 pound each)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesane cheese
1/4 cup olive or vetetable oil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. Mix egg and water. Mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip eggplant into egg mixture, then coat with bread crumb mixture.

Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook half of the eggplant at a time in oil about 5 minutes, turning once, until light brown; drain. Repeat with remaining eggplant, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons oil if necessary.

Place half of the eggplant in ungreased rectangular baking dish, 11 x 7 x 1 1/2 inches, overlapping slices slightly. Spoon half of the sauce over eggplant. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with reamining eggplant, sauce and cheese.

Bake uncovered about 25 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is light brown.

This recipe is from the Betty Crocker's Big Red Cookbook - page 376

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


My mom used to make a good eggplant lasagna when I was little, but she says she can't remember it. =P

If anyone has a good recipe, please share. I want to try it. :)

Spicy Corn

2 cans shopeg corn, drained
4 oz. cream cheese
3-4 tblsp. chopped jalapenos (from can or jar- not fresh)

Mix all together in pot on stove and heat on medium-low. Done!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

3 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
2 cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
2 small cans green chilies
1 soup can water
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped onion
12 tortillas

Boil chicken in seasoned water, save stock. Make sauce out of the next 4 ingredients. Add sheddred chicken. Dip tortillas in chicken stock and stuff with sauce and 1 tablespoon cheese and onion. Roll in casserole dish and cover with remaining sauce and cheese.

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

These make 2 9x13 pans and reheat very well.

Other variations: If you have already cooked chicken you can use canned stock to dip the tortillas in. You can also use one can each of cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soup. You can also use Monterrey Jack cheese or a blend of Mexican cheeses.

Rattle Snake Pasta

1 1/2 lbs. spaghetti pasta
8 oz. Velveeta cheese (melted)
1 onion, sauteed
1 can Rotel tomatoes with extra chilies
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 lbs. cooked chicken breast, shredded

Mix all ingredients together and add melted cheese on top. Mix well. Put in 9x13 inch pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Add pepper to taste. Bake for 30 minutes.

Tip: This tastes very good as left-overs!

Oatmeal Carmelita's

2 cups flour
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed firmly
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 inch pan. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup. Level off. In large bowl, blend remaining ingredients until crumbly. Press about 3 cups (1/2 of mixture) into prepared pan. Reserve remaining crumbs for topping. Bake for 10 minutes.

1 pkg. (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts
12 oz. caramel ice-cream topping
3 tblsp. flour

Sprinkle crust with chocolate chips and nuts. Blend caramel topping and flour. Drizzle over chocolate and nuts. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Return to oven and bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Chill for easier cutting. Yield: 36 bars

Tip: You can use peanut butter chips instead of semi-sweet chocolate ones!

Tortilla Roll-ups

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp. taco seasoning
1/3 cup picante sauce
12 flour tortillas

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add taco seasoning and picante sauce. Mix well. Spread on each tortilla. Roll tortilla tightly. Place seam side down and chill for 2 hours. Cut into slices.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Baked Ziti

Servings: 4


  • 1/2 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 3 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x9 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.
Tips: For 8 servings, double recipe and bake in a 9x13 pan. You can also do steps 1-3 ahead of time and refrigerate until you're ready to bake it. Another thing I've done is double the recipe but put it in two 9x9 pans so I can take one to someone else and share. So far I haven't had any complaints!