Friday, January 28, 2011

Tomato, Basil, and Cheese Baked Pasta

This is from Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids

1 pound medium shell pasta
3 large cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. evoo
1/2 small yellow onion
1 can (28 oz) crushed Italian tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil (I used dried)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup store-bought basil pesto sauce (found in refridgerator section)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
Chopped chicken was the one thing we agreed needs to be added to this dish.

Cook pasta one minute short of time recommended on package.

Preheat a big, deep skillet or a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Remove skins from garlic and chop.

Add evoo and garlic to pan. Chop the onion. (She recommends using 1/2 the onion. So, I did. Next time I don't know if I won't just use the whole thing.) Add the onion to the oil and garlic. Cook, stirring a lot, until the onions are mushy and look cooked, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the onions and stir. When the tomatoes come to a bubble, reduce the heat under the sauce to low. Stir in basil pieces to wilt them. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler to high and place a rack in the center of the oven.

Drain pasta shells. Add them to a casserole dish. Add pesto sauce, ricotta cheese, and a handful of grated parmesan. Stir carefully and coat the hot pasta with the pesto and cheeses. Pour the hot tomato and basil sauce over the pasta. Scatter the mozzarella cheese over the pasta. Add a final sprinkle of parmesan as well. Place the casserole under the broiler in the middle of oven, 10 to 12 inches from the heat. Let the cheese melt and bubble on top, 3 to 5 minutes.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spicy Sweet Potato Burritos

This recipe is from the Penzey's Spice catalog.

2 sweet potatoes (1 1/2 lb. or so total)
3/4 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. granulated garlic powder
1/4 t. black pepper (optional)
2 T. lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
1 15-oz. can black beans
1 cup corn kernels
1/4-1/2 t. salt (optional)
6 whole wheat tortillas

Optional fillings:
1/2 c. chopped olives
1 c. chopped tomatoes
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar or Chihuahua cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork, place on a baking sheet and bake for 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the sweet potatoes. Or if you're in a hurry, microwave the sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes. (I would suggest putting the sweet potatoes in the crockpot!)

Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and let cool. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Scoop the insides out of the potatoes into a bowl and mash with the spices and lime juice. Stir in the beans and corn. (We used frozen corn, so we saut├ęd ours in a pan for a few minutes before hand.) Add salt to taste if using. Spoon the mixture in the tortillas along with any optional fillings you desire. Roll up and bake for 10 minutes until heated through.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Pound Cake

This is from the most recent edition of Penzey's Spice catalog. You can download the catalog at their website.

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
3 c. sugar
5 eggs
2 t. vanilla
3 c. cake flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. heavy cream

Do NOT preheat the oven. It is easy to frost the cake if you put it in a cool oven.

Lightly grease and flour a 10-in tube pan and set aside. (I used 2 9-in cake pans then adjusted my bake time by approximately 30 minutes.)

In a large bowl, cream together the putter and peanut butter. Add the sugar and beat until light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The mixture should be light and fluffy. Add the vanilla.

In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix the batter until smooth and creamy. Pour into the cake pan.

Place in the COLD oven. Set the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until a tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 35 minutes. (Start testing to see if a toothpick comes out clean around 1hr 10 minutes.)

Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning it out on the rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: Place the chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl. Heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until boiling. Pour over the chocolate chips and stir until creamy and smooth. Let cool for 2-3 minutes. Brush any loose crumbs from the cake. Pour the icing evenly over the cake, allowing it to cascade and cover the cake. Move the cake rack to another clean baking sheet. Scrape the drips from the first baking sheet, reheat and pour over the cake.

Serves 16.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Saving at the Goodwill

If you are making several freezer meals, purchase your 9x13 or 9x9 pans at your local Goodwill. They will cost about twice as much as purchasing one foil pan of the same size but you can use them again and again. Also, if you take freezer meals to a family at church you don't have to worry about getting your pan returned quickly.

Monster Cookies

These are monster cookies because they have so many ingredients.
This a recipe from my best friend from high school. It is actually a fourth of the real recipe. She grew up on a dairy farm with several siblings. These are so good!

3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c chunky peanut butter
1 t. vanilla
1 t. corn syrup
2 t. baking soda
4 c. oatmeal
3/4 c. M&Ms
6 oz chocolate chips
6 oz butterscotch chips

10 minutes at 350 degrees
7-8 dozen cookies

I normally freeze my scoops then put 2 dozen in a freezer bag.
These are great to bake from frozen in about 12 minutes, same temperature.
These are also great to take with a freezer meal to someone who is ill or has just had a baby.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Frozen Lemon Squares

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 egg yolks
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/2 cup lemon juice
Yellow food coloring
Whipping Cream, whipped or whipped topping

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter; press firmly on bottom of 8- or 9-inch square pan.
2. In small bowl, beat egg yolks, EAGLE BRAND®, lemon juice and food coloring (optional). Pour into prepared pan.
3. Bake 30 minutes. Cool. Top with whipped cream.
4. Freeze 4 hours or until firm. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in freezer.