Monday, June 29, 2009

Springy Shells Casserole

My garden is overflowing with zucchini and summer squash. Thankfully Pioneer Woman posted this recipe for a yummy shell pasta casserole filled with all sorts of good veggies. I think you could also call this a shell lasagna with veggies. Mmmm...it was good!

  • 16 ounces, weight Pasta Shells (medium) Or Other Short Pasta
  • 1 pound Asparagus, Cut Into 1 1/2 Inch Pieces, Discard Tough Pieces
  • 1/2 pound Broccoli, Cut Into Small Florets
  • 1/2 pound Zucchini (about 1 Medium Zucchini) Diced
  • 1/2 cup Frozen Peas
  • 3 whole Green Onions Sliced (white & Light Green Parts)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 20 ounces, weight Ricotta Cheese (20 - 22 Ozs.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
  •  Black Pepper, Freshly Ground
  •  Extra Olive Oil For Drizzling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta until extremely al dente—with still quite a bit of bite.
Melt butter with the olive oil over medium-low to medium heat, then add in the garlic. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for five minutes. Sprinkle in a little salt.
Add the broccoli and cook for one minute, then add the zucchini and cook for one or two more minutes. Add the frozen peas, still together then turn off the heat. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, eggs, salt, and pepper until well combined.
Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add half the pasta, then spread 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture over the surface. Sprinkle 1/3 of the Parmesan over the ricotta, then ½ of the vegetables. Repeat with the rest of the pasta, the rest of the ricotta, and another 1/3 of the Parmesan. End with the rest of the vegetables and the rest of the Parmesan.
Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons olive oil, then bake for 25 minutes on 350 degrees or until nice and hot.
Serve with extra Parmesan.

Who Dished it first? The Pioneer Woman

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Turkey Spanakopita Burger


Turkey burgers have so much flavor! This is the third turkey burger recipe I've found and loved. It was also fun disguising spinach in the burger for the kids to get their green veggies. I was disappointed in the burger topping options and will most likely serve this without the bun next time because the meat is tasty enough to stand on it's own. Rachael Ray recommends a cucumber yogurt sauce or a roasted red pepper spread but I think a slice of fresh tomato on top and a side salad would be perfect. (By the way, I was wondering what spanakopita means and looked it up. They are Greek pastries filled with feta and spinach.)


Turkey Spanakopita Burger
recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, plus some for drizzling
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, 2 chopped, 1 crushed
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 box (10 ounces) frozen spinach, defrosted
2 teaspoons dried oregano, lightly crushed in the palm, divided
1/4 pound feta crumbles
1 1/3 pounds ground chicken or ground turkey breast
1 tablespoon grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. To one side, add a little extra-virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. When butter melts, add the chopped garlic and chopped red onion and cook 5 minutes. Transfer the onions and garlic to a bowl to cool. 

Wring the defrosted spinach dry buy twisting it in a clean kitchen towel over your sink. Separate the spinach as you add it to the bowl with cool onions, garlic and season with 1 teaspoon of oregano. Add feta crumbles then turkey, grill seasoning and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix and form into 4 patties, 1-inch thick. Return pan to stovetop, raise heat to medium-high and add patties cooking 6 minutes on each side. (We grilled our outside on the BBQ. I was nervous that the meat/cheese mixture would gum up the grill or fall apart but it cooked really well and didn't make a mess.)

*Jayne's Notes: I used fresh spinach from the garden, steamed it for 5 minutes and then wrung the excess moisture out before adding it to the recipe. Tonight we served this with a basil pesto aioli sauce but it wasn't great. I really do think this would taste just fine as a bun-less meat main dish and some fresh sliced tomatoes and maybe cucumbers on top.

Oven-roasted Potato Wedges

We ate potato wedges for dinner tonight and they were seriously the best I have EVER tasted! Every time I've attempted to make these in the past the potatoes took too long to get soft and the seasonings just weren't very good. I don't know what made tonight's dish so yummy but here are a few of the tricks I learned.

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First, I boiled the potatoes for 5-10 minutes until they were just starting to get soft. This decreased the oven cooking time (Yay!) from 50 minutes to 20 at 450 degrees.

Second, I avoided using powdered onion soup or some other odd concoction of flavors. In a bowl I mixed some olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Once the potatoes were drained I poured this oil mixture in and made sure the potatoes were thoroughly coated. Once the potatoes were spread on a baking dish I sprinkled some seasoning salt on top. These were so yummy they didn't need anything else!! 

The third difference from my usual potato wedge baking attempt was that we used FRESH red potatoes straight out of our garden. This was probably the real kicker in making the end product so delicious. Still, I was so amazed at the success of tonight's potato attempt I just had to record my 'recipe'.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cowboy Spaghetti

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Yee-haw! This cowboy spaghetti is a fun and flavorful twist to the typical red sauce with noodles. The original recipe called for beer (no thanks) and fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (this has enough spice as is). Enjoy!

Cowboy Spaghetti
adapted from Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals
Serves 4-6
1 pound spaghetti
salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 pound ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
ground black pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beef stock 
1 (14-ounce) can chopped or crushed tomatoes
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
8 ounces sharp cheddar
4 scallions, chopped
Heat a pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and salt the water. Cook to al dente or with a bite to it.
Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and bacon. Brown and crisp bacon, 5 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon. Drain off a little excess fat if necessary. Leave just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add beef and crumble it as it browns, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, garlic and stir into meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Add 1/2 cup beef stock and deglaze the pan. Cook 5 to 6 minutes more then stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Add hot spaghetti to meat and sauce and combine. Adjust seasonings and serve up pasta in shallow bowls. Grate some cheese over the pasta and sprinkle with scallions. Garnish with crisp bacon.

Chicken and Potato Salad With Maple Brown Sugar Bacon

Just a note about the potato salad post I wrote a few days ago. It's now gone. I must have been very hungry at dinner because I thought it tasted pretty good but the next day the leftovers were far from appetizing. To stick with my rule of posting only the best I did remove that recipe. Hope you're not too disappointed!
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