Friday, January 30, 2009

Getting the Super Bowl Munchies yet?


It has been a long time since I was really interested in the Super Bowl. In fact, the last time I remember watching it was when Janet Jackson had her "wardrobe malfunction". Wait...that was right before the hubby and I got married. Almost five years and two kids later and here we are.


I just asked the hubs if he remembered last year's Super Bowl and he said, "yeah, you made crab cakes and clam chowder". What a guy.


This year we aren't doing anything too exciting. In fact, I don't know exactly what I am going to do. But, I do plan on making these! I have made these for several get togethers and they are always a hit. Yes, you could use already prepared dough, but this comes together so easily and you have to carmelize the onions anyway so why not!


Mini Pizzas with Carmelized Onions and Goat Cheese
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
2 1/4 teaspoon (or one packet) dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon honey
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
olive oil
pizza sauce, marinara sauce, or tomato sauce
1 large yellow onion, cut in half and sliced thin
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
5 oz goat cheese

Combine the water, yeast, honey and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add flour a tablespoon at a time, up to 1/2 cup, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough in the machine for about 10 minutes
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it for a few minutes.

Spray a medium bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, carmelize your onions.

Place about 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onions, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon sugar (optional). Let onions cook, stirring occassionally, for about 30-35 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)


Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut the dough in half. Stretch each half into about a 10 inch circle. Using a small (2 inch) biscuit cutter, cut the dough into small circles.

Place the circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Top each with your tomato sauce of choice (I used pasta sauce), carmelized onions, and goat cheese.

Pop in the oven for about 8 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted.

Remove to a serving tray and enjoy!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Bakers: Tuile Cups

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umrühren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

I once again totally procrastinated this month and pulled this one out in the 11th hour. I swear, next month I am going to give more attention to this challenge. Luckily, they were easy and quick to prepare. The challenge was that we 1)prepare at least one of the given recipes and 2) that we pair it with something light.


I made the simple tuiles off Bake My Day 's blog. I decided to pair my tuiles with a sweet ricotta filling. My take on a canolli in a cup!
To see the different versions of tuiles appearing all over the food blogosphere, check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll. Thank you to our hosts!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lasagna Pasta Toss


Recipes, if used often, morph over time. At first you change an ingredient because you don't have what the recipe calls. Or, you just add a little bit of this and a little bit of that to make it different. One day you can't remember where the actual recipe is and you just make it from memory. Suddenly the recipe becomes your own and you can't write on your blog about it without sounding vague by writing, "a handful" or "a little bit".

Most recipes that are in our regular rotation fit into that category.

This came originally from Rachael Ray, but definitely takes less than 30 minutes. Quick and tasty it is a perfect weeknight meal. It also feeds a crowd and is suitable for entertaining.

I use a jarred sauce (Bertolli is our family favorite). If doing that "cheat" doesn't work for you, I encourage you to make your own. Whatever floats your boat! The best meals are ones that can be shared and changed to suit your individual needs.

Lasagna Pasta Toss
1 lb campanelle pasta
1 lb ground beef
red pepper flakes, to taste
16 oz pasta sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Set a large pot of water to boil.
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Add the pasta sauce and red pepper flakes.
Meanwhile, add salt to the boiling water and cook the pasta.
Put the ricotta in the bottom of large serving bowl, add about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water and stir to combine. Add the remaining cheeses and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.
Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain and add to the cheese sauce, stirring to combine.


Top with the meat sauce. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese.

Serve with garlic bread and a salad. Enjoy!



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Steak Fajitas!



Nothing makes me happier than a meal that comes together without fuss. This one is definitely one of those!

Steak Fajitas
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, topped with rub (see below)
2 green peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced

For the rub:
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons brown sugar


Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mixture on each side of the flank steak.
Let sit for about 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

I used my grill pan to cook the steak, or you can cook it on your outdoor grill. Personally it was just freakin freezing outside, so the indoor grill pan was good enough for me!

Once the steak is cooked (I did about 4 minutes a side), remove and place on a cutting board. Now for the peppers and onions!

Toss the peppers and onions in a little bit of vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. Place on the grill for about 5 minutes or until tender.

Slice the steak against the grain, heat up some tortillas, get out your fixin's, and serve!

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Roasted Eggplant with Three Cheeses



I hav no idea what to call this dish. Tonight was Meatless (or Fish) Monday and my veggie of choice was eggplant. My hubby loves eggplant parmesan, but the whole breading thing really isn't my scene. Maybe it is too many steps or perhaps I don't like getting my fingers all gummy with egg and flour. I think it is probably that I don't like all the extra dishes!

I decided to try roast the eggplant instead. I also thought I would try layering the pieces, similar to lasagna. After all, everything tastes better with a layer of cheese, right?

Roasted Eggplant with Three Cheeses
1 medium to large eggplant
olive oil, salt, and pepper
1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence
1/4 cup fontina cheese
1/4 cup tablespoon Romano cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

tomato sauce of choice



Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
Take the eggplant and slice about 1/4 inch lengthwise off each end . Cut the remaining eggplant lengthwise into four strips. Place the eggplant on the foil and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put 1/4 tsp of the herbs de provence on one side of each eggplant. Put the eggplant in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Flip the sections and roast for an additional 10 minutes.



Take an 11 by 7 casserole dish and put a little bit of tomato sauce on the bottom.
Place two pieces of eggplant lengthwise on top of the tomato sauce.
Place a small layer of sauce, about a tablespoon, on each piece of eggplant.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon each of the fontina, romano, and mozzarella cheese on each eggplant section.
Cover with the remaining eggplant and repeat.

Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Turn on the broiler and broil the top layer of cheese until golden, about 1 minute longer.

Serve with pasta, remaining sauce, salad, and garlic bread. Enjoy!




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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stuffed Flank Steak


I made it three weeks! Wahoo!
AND, unlike every other Sunday so far I ACTUALLY have something to write about!
Well, it isn't that exciting, but it is a great use of a flank steak.

I served this with a side of orzo and a small salad. If I make this again, I would cut the amount of spinach probably in half and I would try to roll the steak tighter. But, the combination of flavors was great and definitely something to try again! I am already thinking up more additions (mushrooms, artichokes, roasted peppers..you get the idea)!

Stuffed Flank Steak
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small non-stick skillet add a little bit of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions, adding a little salt and pepper, until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and place in a medium bowl. Add the spinach. Meanwhile, place the flank steak in between two sheets of plastic wrap and flatten to about 1/4 inch thickness. Place the spinach mixture on the steak and add the goat cheese. Going WITH the grain, roll the flank steak and secure with toothpicks.
In a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and sear the steak on all sides, about 2 minutes a side. Place the skillet in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Let rest out of the oven for 10 minutes before cutting.


Cut to desired thickness and enjoy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Herbed Salad with Goat Cheese

One of the staples that we always have around the house is goat cheese. Give me an entree and I'll come up with a way to add it.

One of my favorite things to do for a light lunch is to serve it with a salad.

Herbed Salad with Goat Cheese
(this serves 2)

For the goat cheese:
In a small bowl, beat one egg with a little bit of water.
In another small bowl, put about a 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs.
Take a log of goat cheese and cut 4 slices, about 1/4 inch thick.
I like to use uncoated dental floss...trust me, it works!
Take the sliced goat cheese and place in the egg mixture, turning to coat.
Then place the goat cheese in the bread crumbs, again turning to coat.
Place the coated goat cheese on a plate. Do the same process for the remaining cheese.
Place the plate in the fridge for about 20 minutes or so.

When ready to serve. Place about a teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
When the skillet is hot, add the goat cheese. Cook on each side for about 1-2 minutes...or until the breadcrumbs are brown.
I have found the easiest way to turn these is a small spatula and a fork.



Place on top of your lettuce of choice (I use an herbed salad medley).
Dress the salad simply with a little bit of olive oil and balsalmic vinegar.

Enjoy!




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Friday, January 23, 2009

Pretzel Coated Chicken

This week has left me exhausted. I felt like I was sleep walking half the time!

For dinner tonight I wanted to do something that could go in the oven with minimal prep. Pretzel coated chicken it is!

I don't really have a recipe, but rather a basic idea.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.
Spray an 11 by 7 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Take a couple of handfuls of pretzels and ground them up in a food processor. Place that in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine 1 part honey to 2 parts Dijon mustard.
Take 4 chicken breasts, and dry them off with paper towels.
Brush one side with the honey-mustard sauce and place in the bowl of pretzels, pressing to coat. Brush the remaining side with honey-mustard and turn to coat that side with the pretzels.
Place the chicken in the casserole dish. Continue with the remaining chicken.
Once finished, place the dish in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.


For a sauce to serve I made an extra amount of the honey mustard combination, adding a little bit of olive oil.

Serve with roasted potatoes and a veggie of choice (I did peas). Enjoy!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

BB: Easy Sticky Buns


It's Barefoot Bloggers time! This week's recipe was chosen by Melissa of Made by Melissa. She chose the Easy Sticky Buns from Back To Basics. This recipe lends itself to many delicious variations. I thought instead of buying ingredients that I would use up the rest of my dried cranberries and almonds. I have never used puff pastry before, but now that I have I am excited to try it with other recipes!

My sous chef, also an Ina fan, had to help of course!



Easy Sticky Buns
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces (I used almonds)
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
For the Filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins (I used craisins)



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar.
Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups.
Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface.
Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right.
Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter.
Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins.
Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.
Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard.
Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide.
Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups.
Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon), and cool completely

I was really disappointed when I took these out of the oven...

Once I flipped them out, they looked okay but seemed too carmelized for me.

If I make these again, I will definitely use less butter and I will pull them from the oven at 25 minutes instead of 30. Ina has never steered me wrong, so I am chalking this one up to my crazy oven and just having an off baking day.

I think they are definitely worth an additional try! While setting up my DVR I noticed that The Contessa is cooking the buns herself on the 31st. I'll make sure to watch!


Click here to find out how the other Barefoot Bloggers did and get the details on joining BB here.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Creamy Cartwheels and Sausage


I love meals that come together in 20 minutes or less. I love even more meals that can come together from things that I generally have in my pantry. Substitutions can be made for each ingredient which makes this dinner is easy and satisfying. Isn't that what we all need on hump day?

Creamy Cartwheels and Sausage
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
scant 2/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
12 ounces cartwheel (fiori) pasta

Place a pot of water to boil.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, brown the sausage.
Once the sausage is browned, add the dried spices and garlic. Saute for about 1 minute.
Add the diced tomatoes and let bubble over medium to medium-high for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling (and salted) water. Cook the pasta about 7-8 minutes.
Add the cream and parmesan to the tomato mixture, stirring to combine.
Add the pasta and stir.

Serve with additional parmesan, garlic bread, and a salad. Enjoy!
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Oreo" Cookies

I have a confession to make. I am "that mom". I make goodies for my daughter's preschool class from scratch almost every week. I sew her costumes. I volunteer and am a "room mom". I can't help it. It just happened and now I can't stop. Along with that, I am also "that wife". I make dinner at home every night and I send my husband to work with a bunch of cupcakes, at least once a week. That's just how I roll.
While looking over the newest Food Network Magazine, I came across a recipe that I just had to try! I didn't quite make as many as the recipe called for, I didn't roll the dough thin enough. Because of that, I just halved the recipe for the filling. I am including the entire recipe here, just in case you are better and more patient at rolling dough than I am.
No matter what, they were freaking fabulous! This recipe comes from Emily Isaac from Trois Pommes Patisserie in Brooklyn. Thank you Emily!
For the Dough
1 1/3 cups cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift together the cocoa powder, flour and salt into a large bowl. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Next add the dry ingredients (SLOWLY!), mixing until just incorporated. Scrape the bowl down at least once with a spatula.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces; place each piece between 2 lightly floured sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Refrigerate both rectangles, until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using a 2 inch round cutter, cut the dough into 64 circles. (You can re-roll the scraps once). Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (I used my silpats) and bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
While the cookies are baking, assemble the filling.
For the Filling:
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Using a mixer, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla.
To assemble, flip half of the cookies upside down and top each with 1 level tablespoon of filling. Press the remaining cookies on top to make sandwiches.
Enjoy!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Is it Monday already?


Monday is "Meatless or Fish Monday". I decided on that for a "theme" day because by the time the weekend is over, we have had our fill of filling, rich dishes and are in need of something quick and simple to ease us back into the week. And even though today the hubs was home from work, it seemed as though the day just passed me right by! I was thankful to come up with something quick and satisfying.

When I cook fish, I mainly use tilapia. It is economical and easy to work with. The hubs isn't that into fish, and so tilapia seems to be the best "gateway fish". This dish I am sure could easily be subsituted with cod, halibut, or sole. When they are in season, cherry tomatoes would be perfect, but canned tomatoes are a good substitution.

Tilapia with Tomato and Olives
2 (6 oz) tilapia fillets
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup green olives, halved
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this can be done to taste)

Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
Once the pan is hot, salt and pepper the tilapia and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Remove the fish and set aside.
Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, olives, and pepper flakes and cook for approximately 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and divide among fish. Serve over rice. Enjoy!





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Sunday, January 18, 2009

I made it two weeks!

My resolution to try to blog every day in January just to prove that I could is still going strong! There is only one problem. What is it about Sunday and blogging? I seem to be unable to do much. I've been sitting in front of a blank screen forever trying to think about what to write about tonight. My mind is a total blank. Sunday is usually my favorite day because I get to sleep in. Unfortunately, the hubs is sick and so, I had early duty today.

Dinner was family favorites tonight and that for us today was corned beef and cabbage. Nothing spectacular...I threw everything in the crockpot and turned it on. I even made cookies today! But, they were my favorite chocolate chip cookies, no new surprises there!

I hope I have something more interesting to post tomorrow....maybe I'll finally finish my Iron Cupcake entry idea! Think chocolate and cabernet and dare I say...goat cheese? Stay tuned!

I'm off to have a piece of chocolate cake....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Did someone say chocolate cake?



As I mentioned before, I love my new 6 inch pan. It makes the PERFECT amount of cake.
When I saw this cake in the December Bon Appetit magazine, I knew I had to try it. The cake recipe itself wasn't interesting to me, and I knew the perfect recipe to use.
My tried and true chocolate cake recipe came from again none other than Ina Garten. Seriously the woman rocks! You can find the recipe here. I did everything the same, except I halved the recipe. For the coffee, I added a Guradelli peppermint coffee that I had.
While the cake was cooking, I made both a white chocolate and a dark chocolate ganache.
Basic Chocolate Ganache
4-5 ounces chocolate of choice
1/3 cup heavy cream
extract of choice
Heat the cream to a simmer. Once hot, pour on top of the chocolate and let sit for about 30 seconds. Stir to combine the melted chocolate. Add the extract of choice and continue stirring until melted and thick. Let sit.
For the dark chocolate ganache, I used dark chocolate chips and added a little vanilla. For the white chocolate ganache, I used white chocolate chips and added a splash of peppermint extract.
While the cake was cooling, I made a cream using the white chocolate.
White Chocolate Peppermint Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
2 tablespoons white sugar
white chocolate ganache
Mix the heavy cream and sugar int a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Once you have soft to medium peaks, add the white chocolate and continue to whip until medium peaks are reached.
Once the cake was cooled, I cut the cake in half and spread a layer of about 1/2 dark chocolate ganache on top. Next I spread a layer of the white chocolate peppermint cream. I put the other layer on top and put in the fridge to set up.
While the cake was in the fridge, I made a really simple chocolate frosting. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, I put the leftover chocolate ganache, 1 stick of butter at room temperature, a splash of vanilla extract, mixing until well incorporated. Once mixed, I added about a cup of powdered sugar.
Spread on the cake, cut and enjoy!!




Friday, January 16, 2009

The Perfect Roasted Chicken

I only have a picture of this chicken before putting it in the oven. After taking it out and carving it, I completely forgot about taking a picture. I couldn't wait to dive in and eat it!

This recipe comes from none other than your friend and mine, the Barefoot Contessa. Super simple and super good!



Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take a 5-6 pound chicken, giblets removed and rinsed. Pat it dry with paper towels. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut a lemon into quarter and shove it right in the bird. Next, take an entire head of garlic, cut it in half lengthwise and shove that inside. Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and brush that all over the outside of the bird, then salt and pepper the heck out of it (see photo).

In a roasting pan, create a bed of vegetables. I used carrot, celery, onion, and potato. Be careful not to cut them too small as they will be in the oven for a while. For example, I take a medium to small sized potato and quarter it.

Set the bird on top of the veggies and put in the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear.

Remove the chicken from the roasting pan, cover with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile put the pan with the veggies back in the oven and let carmelize.

Carve chicken, serve with veggies and enjoy!
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

"It looked like couscous"

This is proof that my husband loves me and will eat anything that he thinks I cooked.

He almost put this on his plate....

Okay okay, this picture is innocent enough...it could be couscous, right???
But, this is what the entire scene looked like.


My head sous chef did her own cooking yesterday. What you see here are two emptied packets of yeast, cinnamon, thyme, paprika, parsley, water, sugar, vegetable oil, panko bread crumbs, and salt & pepper. When I put it in the garbage disposal (after she told me it was done rising)..it was still bubbling.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chicken with Three Cheeses

While it wasn't my intention, I made a meal plan for this week with all of our most popular items in the rotation!

This could also be called Chicken Parmesan, but I thought Chicken with Three Cheeses sounded like something new!
I like using panko bread crumbs. For me the crunchiness of the panko saves the whole flour-egg-breadcrumb dredging process, which is totally not my scene. I also don't flatten the chicken, but instead let it finish cooking in the oven.

Chicken with Three Cheeses
4 chicken breast halves
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded pecorino romano cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
1 jar marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 11 by 7 casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Place the panko crumbs and 1/4 cup each of the romano and parmesan cheeses in a shallow dish.
Dry the chicken off with a paper towel. Spray with cooking spray (I use a butter flavored one).
Put the chicken in one at a time in the bowl and press to coat.
In a large shallow skillet over medium-high heat put in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add about 1 tablespoon of butter.
Once the butter is melted, add the chicken and cook for about 3-4 minutes a side.
Once the chicken is browned on both sides, place in the casserole dish and top with about a cup or so of the marinara sauce.
Top with the mozzarella and remaining romano and parmesan cheeses.

Place the casserole dish in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the top is bubbly and golden.

Serve with a side of pasta and remaining marinara sauce and a salad. Enjoy!





Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

We love rotisserie chicken around here. It makes Tex Mex night come together so quickly! This meal can be made in 15 minutes...no joke!


Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce
8 corn tortillas
2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 1/4 cups shredded mexican blend cheese
1 teaspoon cumin


Spray a 11 by 7 glass pan with cooking spray and set aside. Turn on the broiler. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the onion and green pepper and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the enchilada sauce and let bubble for an additional 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the chicken, 3/4 cup of cheese, and cumin. Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave on high for 1 minute to soften. To assemble the enchiladas, take one tortilla and fill with about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture. Place in the 11 by 7 pan. Cover with the enchilada sauce. Put in the oven for 3 minutes or so to heat everything through. Remove from the oven and top with remaining cheese. Put the dish back in the oven and broil for an additional 2 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Top with sour cream and serve with rice and beans. Enjoy!

Occassionally I have leftover chicken mixture because I am basically pulling a Rachael Ray and eyeballing everything. Perfect use of leftovers? Quesadillas for the little ones!

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Meatless Monday

I go shopping for groceries once every two weeks. Why you ask? Have you ever tried going to the grocery store with kids? Or if you haven't, have you ever seen someone do it? Either way you know why I would want to avoid having to schlep kids around any more than I have to. Plus, it is just plain cold outside lately. Doing this actually makes my trips a lot more relaxed, honestly!
Since I go shopping every two weeks, I also plan meals in two week increments. Here's how it breaks down:
Monday: Meatless or Fish
Tuesday: Tex Mex
Wednesday: Italian
Thursday: Sandwich, Soup, Salad...or some combo of these
Friday: Shabbat Dinner
Saturday: Steak House Night
Sunday: Family Classics

SO, tonight is meatless...manicotti that is!
I like doing something simple on Monday, and this fits into that perfectly. It takes minimal time to put together and is always a family pleaser. You could also do this with large shells.

Spinach and Cheese Manicotti

1 8oz box dried manicotti
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz tub ricotta cheese
1 10oz box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 eggs
1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup romano cheese, grated
1 jar tomato sauce...whatever you kind you like, or make your own...whatever works.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add the manicotti. Cook for 7 minutes, drain.
Meanwhile, put a little bit of olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat, add the garlic.
Cook until the garlic is softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, add ricotta, spinach, eggs, 3/4 cup mozzarella, and 1/2 cup romano cheese. Add the garlic. Mix until well blended. Place in a large plastic bag.

To assemble, put a little bit of sauce in the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch pan. To fill the manicotti, cut a small triangle in the plastic bag and pipe the filling into each side of the pasta. Add more sauce, to your liking and top with the remaining cheeses. Cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve with a salad, garlic bread, and enjoy!