drunken noodles
CFA tortilla soup, quesadillas
Quattro fettuccine alfredo, broccoli
Thai sweet chili shrimp, rice, green beans
pork Milanese, parmesan baked potato halves, peas
chipotle lime chicken flatbreads, black beans
crockpot garlic rosemary beef stew, cheddar popovers

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meatball Pasta Bake

Miss F loves two cooking show: Master Chef Junior and Pioneer Woman. I have tried to get her to watch Barefoot Contessa with me, but she gets bored with it, but I guess I can see that with an eight year old attention's span. As soon as she saw the Pioneer Woman that included this Meatball Pasta Bake, she wanted to make it. I adapted the original recipe quite heavily to better suit it to my cooking style and taste.  This recipe was a huge hit with the family.  I served it with a big salad, it was a great and filling meal. 
Meatball Pasta Bake

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt

1 pound ground beef
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg

1 pound rigatoni, prepared per package instructions and drained.
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
¼ cup grated parmesan

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the tomato paste, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, basil, parsley, oregano and salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer while you prepare the meatballs.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Stir together the beef, parmesan, breadcrumbs and egg. Grease two 24 cup mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Scoop the meatball mixture using a heaping teaspoon, roll into a ball and place into the muffin tin. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Toss the prepared pasta with the tomato sauce. Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the pasta into the dish. Add half of the mozzarella and half of the meatballs to the dish. Top with the remaining pasta. Nestle the remaining mozzarella and meatballs into the pasta. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over top. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes more. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Basil Vinaigrette

Homemade vinaigrettes are incredibly easy to make when you use a mini-food processor. Add everything but the oil, stream it in with the processor running and you have vinaigrette. And it is so much better than anything you can find in a bottle. I usually have a bottle of homemade vinaigrette of some kind in our refrigerator to go along side the giant box of mixed greens from Costco. Those mixed greens last forever, I'm not sure what the secret is.  This recipe takes vinaigrette to the next level with the addition of sweet basil.  Be sure to taste the vinaigrette with a small piece of lettuce, add more sugar if necessary.
Basil Vinaigrette

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup chopped basil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except the oil in a mini-food processor. Pulse to combine. Stream in the olive oil with the processor on to emulsify the dressing. Serve over mixed greens.
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Monday, November 21, 2016

Crockpot Creamy White Chicken Chili

I knew I wanted to have white chicken chili on Halloween before we went out trick or treating. I wanted something creamier than my usual and could be made in the crockpot. The only wrench in the plans was the 80+ degree weather Halloween night!  We all had large servings and there was plenty left over for lunches and lunchboxes for the remainder of the week.  Miss F was a huge fan and I think she had it for lunch nearly every day of the week.  This recipe is adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen.
Crockpot Creamy White Chicken Chili

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
14.5 ounce can chicken broth
1 cup milk
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup salsa verde
2 cups frozen corn
2 15.5 ounce cans Great Northern beans, drained
½ cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 avocado
tortilla chips, for serving

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour; keep stirring until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the chicken broth and milk, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth. Return to heat. Bring sauce to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Add the sauce to the crockpot. Add the chicken breasts to the crockpot, sprinkle with the chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the salsa, corn and beans. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred with two forks, return the shredded chicken into the crockpot, stir in the sour cream. Serve with cheddar cheese, diced avocado and tortilla chips.
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