Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stuffed Shells

I love when I am able to make a meal based off of leftover ingredients from previous meals.
I had some mozarella and ricotta in the fridge, so I took to the Food Blogosphere and came across a super Yummy recipe of Baked Manicotti and homemade pasta sauce from here. I decided to used large shells instead since I just think they are more fun.

The sauce made so much that I was able to freeze half of it. Which is nice for when I need some quick sauce.
The result was Superb- all the kiddos, my hubby and I all Loved it!

Manicotti / Stuffed Shells

Cheese Filling and Pasta

3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (or 2 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (I use the Barilla brand – apparently they are supposed to be the most similar to homemade pasta and I love them, both in this and in lasagna)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan chese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside.

To assemble, pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 by 9-inch baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating noodles with tip of sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry baking dish.

Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using soupspoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. (You should be able to fit 8 manicotti in each row, allowing all 16 to fit in the dish). Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is completely covered.

Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

The manicotti can be prepared right up until the baking step then covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.) To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

* if using shells prepare the same. boil shells until pliable then let them cool off, spoon mixture inside and cover with sauce.

Divine Spagetti Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped and divided
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 pounds hamburger (at least 90% lean)
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 14-oz. can Italian-style diced tomatoes
2 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 carton fresh mushrooms (optional)
1 1/2 cups beef stock or beef broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add 1/2 of the onions and saute until translucent and slightly browned. Add garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add beef and cook until no red is showing. Drain beef slightly. Blend up the remaining onions and red pepper in a blender or food processor until mostly smooth. Add mixture to the garlic, onions and beef and stir to combine, cooking for another minute. Add tomato paste and spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring until combined. Add tomatoes, beef broth and sugar (and mushrooms, if using). Stir until combined and add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Fifteen minutes before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.

NOTE: The sauce will seem watery at first but will reduce to perfection after simmering for an hour. I’ve let it simmer on the stove for up to three hours before with no problems.

*Freezable Meal: The finished spaghetti sauce freezes very well. I store mine in a freezer-safe container. To serve, I thaw in the refrigerator (usually about one day) and reheat over medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stove.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fry Bread

I have always Loved Fry Bread/Navajo Tacos, and even though my husband isn't a big fan, I still love making it. I love it Sweet with honey and butter or savory, stacked with meat, beans and the works. You may already have a recipe for the fry bread that you LOVE, if so keep on using it, if not try this one I really enjoyed it.

Indian Fry Bread

4 cups flour

2 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup warm water

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add in the shortening and water. Add only enough water to make dough stick together. Knead dough until smooth, make into fist-sized balls. Cover them with a towel for 10 minutes then pat them out into circles about the size of a pancake. Fry in hot cooking oil in cast iron skillet until brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Prime Rib Hash

Once again I would like to apologize for my lack of posting. The summer is really kicking my butt, I hope you enjoy this meal.

For Mother's Day Stephen made a wonderful Prime Rib for me. With all the leftovers I was able to make one of my favorite meals. Hash- usually I make it with leftover ham but what could be better than Prime Rib.

The thing I love about my moms has is she always serves it with a fried egg on top- the absolute best way to eat it.

First I sliced up some onions and bell pepper( any kind will do)
Cut all the meat into bite size pieces
I was even able to use the leftover potatoes from dinner as well.
Usually I just slice up some potatoes and fry them up.
Add it all together. Make sure to add the meat last so it doesn't cook to much- all it really needs to do is heat up.
Place a fried egg on top- poke it to let the yolk out
add some ketchup and a little horseradish

and you got yourself one mighty fine meal.

Prime Rib Hash
( can be substituted for Ham)

Slice up some potatoes real thin, add some garlic salt and pepper and fry in some olive oil.
Add sliced peppers and onion cook till tender.
Add meat last and heat through.
Top with a fried egg and serve with ketchup ( horseradish if you like)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fresh is BEST!

I got these recipes from some Foodie Blogs of course and they were Killer! I truly can't wait to make them again. The Bruschetta Chicken was from the Kraft foods website and while I am sure it would have still tasted great following the recipe. I decided to make it a little Fresher by adding Basil from my garden and slices of Fresh Mozzarella and topping it with some Orzo ( it was a super light summer supper that my kids just gobbled up)

I paired the chicken with French Bread from a great blog. I have never made nor eaten homemade French Bread, the fam and I devoured it ( I was even able to make some super yummy french toast with it). It is also a really easy recipe that even Jackson enjoyed helping with.

"Shelle's Fabulous French Bread" - Michelle Shirley

2 1/2 c. Warm Water
2 T. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 T. Oil
6 c. Flour
2 T. yeast

* I used a bosch instead of a bowl and let IT do the mixing and it still worked great.

Pour warm water in large bowl; sprinkle yeast over water. Let dissolve about 5 minutes. Sprinkle on sugar, salt, and oil. Stir to dissolve all.
Add 1/2 of the flour; stir. Add remainder of flour; stir.
Leave spoon right in batter. Let dough rest 10 min., then stir down. Do this 6 times.
Turn dough on floured board. Knead only to coat with flour.
Divide in 2 parts.
Roll out into a rectangle. Roll up like a jelly roll; tuck under ends.
Repeat with other dough part.
Place on cookie sheet; let rise 30 mins. Cut 3 gashes across top. Bake at 400* for 25-30.
{after it's done baking i like to lightly rub it with butter when it's still warm}

Onto the Chicken so I wanted to start out showing you how I like to cut tomatoes. You may already have your own method but I love mine and if you aren't married to your's maybe you can give this a try.

This works best with Roma tomatoes ( which is what I always buy since they are always on sale and are almost always good)
I slice the top off the cut it in half
next I cut into thin strips
Then I put them all in a row and cut down them all. I like really small pieces but you can make them big or small depending on your liking.

Here is that fabulous French Bread right out of the oven
With the Basil I stack them up
roll em
then cut them
After you have marinated the chicken ( I couldn't seem to find the right dressing so I used Catalina- still great)
place them on a grill, I used and indoor grill with sides and it made the cooking process soooo much easier.
Flip it
Toss together a mixture of tomatoes, basil, evoo, balsamic and salt
take the chicken off the grill and put a piece of foil down and then place chicken and tomato mixture on top
layer with mozzarella
top with foil
basically let it cook till cheese is melted.

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

9 or 10 chicken tenderloins

4-5 medium roma tomatoes

fresh basil pkg.

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Mozzarella Cheese

Sun-dried Tomato Dressing/ or Catalina Dressing

Marinate chicken in about a 1/2 cup of dressing.

Cut basil and tomato small then put in a bowl and add olive oil and balsamic and salt to liking.

Cook chicken on grill, then place foil on grill and put chicken and tomato and basil mixture on top. Layer on sliced cheese and put foil on- cook until cheese is melted.

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