Church Supper Chicken Casserole

Church Supper Chicken Casserole

Church Supper Chicken Casserole

Happy Spring, friends.  I do believe that Spring is finally starting to show signs of it’s arrival, and for me that means getting organized.  So this week has been a closet organizing, cob-web dusting, house cleaning kind of week.  This time of year always has me rearranging things for a fresh perspective, but this year I have an additional reason for doing so.

In just a few days I will be having surgery to replace the worn-out joint in my right knee.  Since I don’t know exactly what I’ll be capable of doing while healing and therapy take place, I’m doing some extra cooking (freezing meals),  clothes preparation (getting out the warm weather clothes), and trying to plan ahead for any events that may arise.    It will  be some time before I get back to my cooking adventures and writing to tell you about them.  In the mean time I have some posts ready to self-publish in my absence, but they will not be as frequent as you have been accustomed to.

The recipe that I’m sharing with you today is one that goes back quite a few years and was introduced to members of our church by our pastor, the first woman to be ordained in our church.  She always made this chicken and broccoli dish for our church suppers, and it became known as “Rosemary’s Chicken Casserole”.   Over the years I’ve taken a few liberties with the recipe and adapted it to use leftovers whenever I have some cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken on hand.

Chicken and Broccoli casserole with mashed sweet potatoes and salad.

Chicken and Broccoli casserole with mashed sweet potatoes and salad.

I include here the original recipe if you would like to make it the way it was intended, plus some notes on how I modify it to use leftovers.

Rosemary’s Church Supper Chicken Casserole

Yield:   Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts ( or 3-4 cups cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken)IMG_9482
  • 2 packages frozen broccoli (or 1 large head fresh broccoli)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup stuffing mix ( Pepperidge Farm or other)

Note:  the recipe can be easily halved for a smaller quantity.  If you do this, use only one can of soup, (Here, I’ve used cream of celery).   1/2 cup milk, and 1/4 cup mayonnaise.

Directions:

1.  Simmer chicken breasts in a small amount of water until cooked.  Cool and debone.

2.  Cook frozen broccoli, or fresh broccoli, if using.

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Place broccoli in a large casserole that has been prepared with cooking spray.  For half the recipe use an 8″ or 9″ square baking dish.  Cover with pieces of cooked chicken.

Cover broccoli with pieces of cooked chicken.

Cover broccoli with pieces of cooked chicken.

Preheat oven to 350*F.

3.  Make the sauce by whisking together the soups, milk and mayonnaise.

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Pour over the chicken and broccoli.

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4.  Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce,

Add grated cheese over sauce.

Add grated cheese over sauce.

then place the stuffing mix on top.

Top with stuffing mix.

Top with stuffing mix.

5.  Bake at 350*F. for 25 – 30 minutes until top is browned and bubbly.

Hot and bubbly.  Yum, so good!

Hot and bubbly. Yum, so good!

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SOURCE:  Recipes From the Heart

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Tomato, Tortellini and Spinach Soup

Tomato-Tortilini-Spinach Soup

Tomato-Tortellini-Spinach Soup

Soups are pretty mundane.  They don’t garner all the razzmatazz that entrees do in a fancy restaurant.  Soups sit quietly in the back row, never speaking unless spoken to.  I think of soups as kind of shy.  They mind their own business, but if you seek them out, well then….they love to be noticed, and they can charm you, but quietly.

I made this soup on a day when I needed soup….and on a day when I needed the soup to be easy, but captivating.  This is a soup that shines when you taste it, but not before.

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The savory onions and garlic go from sautéing, into a pot of hot broth, to which diced tomatoes are added and the seasonings.  Add some fresh cheese-filled tortilini,  cook a few minutes till done, add some spinach, and there it is.    The dried basil and oregano are essential.  They are what makes this soup have that wonderful Italian flavor.  The only thing that can make it better is a shaving of Parmesan cheese on top.   Oh, and a loaf of crusty, crunchy bread to soak up the broth.    Listen closely, and  you will hear Andrea Bocelli singing.

SPINACH-TOMATO-TORTELLINI SOUP

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:IMG_8430

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp, dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 4 cups chicken broth (vegetarians, use vegetable broth)
  • 9 0z. pkg. refrigerated 3-cheese tortellini
  • 3 cups baby spinach, or 1 box frozen spinach, squeezed dry
  • grated Parmesan for serving

Directions:

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large soup kettle.  Add chopped onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent.

Sautéing the onions and garlic.

Sautéing the onions and garlic.

2.  Add the tomatoes with their liquid, the chicken broth plus 1 cup of water, all the seasonings, the tortellini and salt and pepper to taste.

There's all those lovely seasonings.

There’s all those lovely seasonings.

3.   Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until the tortellini is tender, about 5 – 6 minutes

4.  Stir in the spinach and cook for 2 – 3 more minutes to heat through.

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5.  Ladle into bowls and serve with  shaved Parmesan cheese as garnish.

Warming, captivating, delicious!!

Warming, captivating, delicious!!

 

SOURCE:   adapted from Cooking Classy

 

Keeping it Simple

You’re going without makeup, walking around barefoot and even actually reading hardcover books.  Midsummer is here.   That means life is easy, and you’re  enjoying the simple things.    I hope that extends to your meal planning.

Here’s where a good pasta recipe comes in.  And those tomatoes that are really starting to ripen up?   Make them the star of the dish.  Roast or sauté 3 -4 of them along with some garlic and pour over thin spaghetti cooked al dente..  Then, before serving, top with chopped fresh basil and grate some cheese on top.   Oh my!  All that goodness in one place—-I think I might swoon!

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

The kind of tomatoes you use for this dish can be any kind you have available.  I’m partial to roma/plum tomatoes because they are so meaty without a ton of seeds,  Sometimes I mix different kinds for some variation.  In the version I made here, I added some small meatballs to the sauce and let them simmer just to cook through, making it a little more hearty–the way Mr. D. likes it.  Lots of fresh basil cut up on top is a must, and let everyone grate on some Parmesan cheese.

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SPAGHETTI WITH FRESH TOMATOES AND CHEESE

Yield:  Makes 4 main-dish servingsIMG_7846

Ingredients:

  • 1  (8-oz.) package spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, use a good quality with a nice fruity aroma
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 – 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. fresh basil, torn
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • more bail for garnish
  • grated Parmesan cheese for serving (vegans, omit the cheese)

Directions:

1.  In a 6-quart saucepan, cook spaghetti as label directs.

2.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add mixed garlic and cook until tender, 1 – 2 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, 2 tsp. torn basil and salt;   heat through.    If adding meatballs, cover, and simmer on low to heat through, stirring occasionally.

3.  Drain spaghetti, and save 1/4 cup cooking liquid.    Pour into serving bowl,  pour tomato sauce over, and stir to coat.  Add cooking liquid a little at a time, if needed, to further loosen the sauce.  Sprinkle more chopped basil over the top and serve.  Pass the grated cheese.

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This is my idea of great summer eating;  pick those tomatoes while they’re still warm with sunshine, cut them up, cook briefly, and eat ASAP.  Sigh!

SOURCE:  Carolyn’s Originals

 

 

 

 

Glazed Salmon with Couscous

Glazed Salmon and Couscous

Glazed Salmon and Couscous

Let’s go fishing!   I’ll bring the fishing poles if you’ll bring your boat.  I’ll pack a picnic lunch and some cold drinks,  and enough insect repellent to take care of any bugs within miles.  Oh, yeah, bait!  Would you stop on your way to the river and pick some up? Oh, and be sure to bring your camera.  We have to get some pics of our catch to post on F.B.

That reminds me—Do you know how to bait the hook?    Oh, me neither.   Well, I guess we’ll need to find someone to help us with that.   On second thought,  why don’t we just go shopping instead and stop by the local fish market for a nice piece of salmon on our way home.  Sounds like a plan to me 🙂

When we get home it will only take a few minutes to get dinner ready because the salmon is so easy to prepare with this recipe.

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GLAZED SALMON

Yield:  Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 cups water
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked couscous  (In my version, I used the larger size pearl couscous, and followed cooking time on the package.)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

    Whole-grain mustard and chopped shallots.

    Whole-grain mustard and chopped shallots.

  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick
  • cooking spray

Directions:

1.  Preheat the broiler.  Line a jelly-roll pan with foil, and coat with cooking spray.

2.  Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and couscous; cover.  Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in dill, rind, and juice.  (If using Israeli or pearl couscous, following cooking directions on package.)

3.  Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil and butter; swirl until butter melts.  Add shallots; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add wine to pan; bring to a boil.  cook 2 minutes;  stir in mustard and brown sugar.  Remove pan from heat.

Sautéing the shallots.

Sautéing the shallots.

4.  Arrange salmon fillets, skin sides down on the prepared jelly-roll pan.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp, salt and remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Spread half of mustard mixture evenly over fillets.  Broil 6 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.  Spread remaining half of mustard mixture over fillets.  Serve salmon with couscous.

You can round out this meal nicely with the addition of a green vegetable such as haricots verts, or asparagus.

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Orange Beef and Broccoli

Orange Beef and Broccoli

Orange Beef and Broccoli

On rare occasions we like to order Chinese take-out, and one of our favorite dishes is beef and broccoli.  The rice comes separate and I can limit or not take any rice if I choose not to, so I feel this is probably one of the healthier entrees that is available.

With this recipe I’m woking (pun intended) a little on the wild side, because I haven’t attempted to make this dish before now.  I don’t own a wok as the recipe suggests using, but any large heavy skillet will do fine.  The most time consuming aspect of the recipe is preparing the ingredients.  Have everything chopped, sliced, measured and ready to go before you start cooking, because once you turn on the heat, the cooking goes quickly.

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Orange rind and five-spice powder flavor the dish with sweet notes that are countered by a hit of red pepper’s heat.  Decrease the pepper for anyone who would prefer to walk on the mild side.  Serve rice on the side.

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I’m really enjoying using the asian seasonings I’ve acquired and now making use of.  They provide salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.   Some essential basic ingredients that you might consider for your pantry are:  Siracha, a spicy chile sauce that saves you the time of working with fresh chiles;  brown sugar, an easy way to add instant caramel notes and some sweetness; lower-sodium soy sauce that provides deep umami notes;  dark sesame oil, intensely tasty oil that coats food with savory richness;  and rice vinegar, more mellow than most vinegars, only a splash brings flavors into balance.

Some basic seasonings for asian cooking.

Some basic seasonings for asian cooking.

ORANGE BEEF AND BROCCOLIIMG_7299

Yield:    serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound flank steak, trimmed  ( I used a strip steak)
  • 3/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1  1/2 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 8 (1-inch) strips orange rindIMG_7301
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium so sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions (garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (garnish)
  • 1 package precooked white rice such as Uncle Ben’s

Directions:

1.  Sprinkle steak evenly with five-spice powder, black pepper and salt.   Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to the pan; swirl to coat.  Add steak;  cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove steak from pan; let stand 5 minutes.  Cut steak across grain into thin slices.

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2.  Return pan to high heat.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, swirl.  Add broccoli, onion, rind, and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Combine broth and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper) in a bowl stirring with a whisk.  Add stock mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened.

3.  To serve, spoon some rice onto a plate, top with 3/4 cup broccoli mixture and 3 ounces beef.  Sprinkle evenly with green onions and sesame seeds.

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light

 

Grilled Steak and Vegetables with Lemon-Herb Butter

Grilled Steak with Vegetables and Lemon Herb Butter

Grilled Steak with Vegetables and Lemon Herb Butter

 

Spring bulbs are blooming, and flowering trees are showing their vivid display.  This is my favorite month of the year.  We can hope for a beautiful weekend for Mother’s Day.  Maybe some of you have taken the grille out of winter storage and are getting ready to use it or maybe you never but it away–like us.  We just cover it for the winter.  Or maybe you live where the grill is in use year round.  In any situation….this recipe will make you want to get grilling.  If that is not a possibility, you can make it totally indoors on the stove. Either way, it will be delicious.IMG_7199

This is a meal that takes only a short time to make it, but is really big on flavor.  It involves making a spicy sauce that bathes the vegetables and steak, then cooking them quickly on fairly high heat so that a browned exterior forms.  The final touch is the lemon-herb butter on the steak.  The recipe recommends using a beef sirloin steak, but what I used were boneless chuck steaks, that were well marbled with fat, so they were extremely tender.  Cooking it to medium-rare also kept it tender, so that it didn’t dry out.  This is definitely  a meal that men will love, even though I’m suggesting it for Mother’s Day, it would also be great for Father’s Day.    Any guy who loves to grill can easily handle making this dish.

GRILLED STEAK AND VEGETABLES WITH LEMON-HERB BUTTER

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

Have everything ready in advance.

Have everything ready in advance.

 

  • 1  1/2 pounds sirloin steak, about 1-inch thick (or other tender steak of your choice)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 2 large zucchini or yellow squash, cut diagonally into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Slice the zucchini on the diagonal for larger slices.

Slice the zucchini on the diagonal for larger slices.

Slice the onion in thick rounds.

Slice the onion in thick rounds.

Directions:

1.  Preheat a grill (or grill pan) to medium high.  Combine the barbecue sauce, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add steak and vegetables;  toss to coat.  Let stand 5 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, mash the butter with the parsley, lemon zest and a pinch of salt in a small bowl;  set aside.

Get the herb butter ready.

Get the herb butter ready.

3.  Transfer the vegetables to the grill and cook until crisp tender and slightly charred in spots, about 8 minutes.  Set aside to keep warm.   Add the steak to the grill and cook 4 – 5 minutes per side for medium rare; remove to a cutting board and let rest.

Steaks looking wonderful on the grill.

Steaks looking wonderful on the grill.

4.  Cut the steak into 4 pieces.  Top each piece with some of the lemon-herb butter.  Serve with the grilled vegetables.

An outstanding meal; one your family will love.

An outstanding meal; one your family will love.

You will note in my photos that I also served a twice-baked potato with this meal. This was made by first baking the potatoes, then scooping out most of the insides and mashing the potato with some precooked broccoli, a little non-fat Greek yogurt, a drizzle of milk and some cheddar cheese.  Replace all that back into the potato shell and bake again until heated through and the cheese is melted.

Scoop out most of the potato, leaving a shell.

Scoop out most of the potato, leaving a shell.

Mix potato with cooked broccoli, greek yogurt, milk and cheese.

Mix potato with cooked broccoli, greek yogurt, milk and cheese.

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Country Style Pork Ribs

Country Style Pork Ribs

Country Style Pork Ribs

Talk about finger-lickin’good, these ribs go beyond that!  I licked the spoon, the spatula, and my fingers.  Before the first bite of these succulent pieces of pork rib reach your tummy, you’ll be reaching for another bite.  Guaranteed!

The time spent on these ribs takes place at the beginning–the morning, or evening before you’re planning to serve them.  At that time you will need to season and brown the meat, and sauté onions.  Then layer it all up in your slow cooker and forget about it (if you can, with all that tantalizing aroma), until dinner time rolls around.  Be sure you have a can of beer–any kind–on hand because this is the basis of the sauce.  WOW, talk about good!  Note to self:  have more beer on hand to sip while eating these fantastic ribs.

Ribs with onion sauce served over rice.

Ribs with onion sauce served over rice.

This recipe is on a clipping from an old newspaper, probably the Hartford Courant,  but I don’t have a date.  The clipping has notes written all over it about how good the ribs are, and also how I modified it.  The original recipe called for slow cooking the ribs, then taking them outside to your grill and charring them a little before indulging, but I found them to be so falling-apart tender that I was afraid they would fall through the grates and I would lose them.  Maybe if you put a sheet of foil on the grates first, it would work, but I just could not wait to dig into them, so I skipped this step.  As you read on, I’ll explain what I did.

COUNTRY STYLE PORK RIBS

Yield:   4 – 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8  country-style pork ribs  (Choose ones with lots of meat on them)IMG_7058
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika (I used 1 T. regular and 1 T. smoked paprika.)
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced, to make 3 – 4 cups
  • 1 bottle or can of beer ( I used Budweiser)
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

1.  In a very large bowl or zip-top bag, mix together the seasonings, i.e., salt through black pepper.

All the lovely spices!  They smell wonderful.

All the lovely spices! They smell wonderful.

2.  Add the ribs, shake around  to coat well.  If there is seasoning left, save it,

3.  Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on medium-high.  Add the oil and swirl to coat.  Put a couple of ribs at a time in the pan and sear on all sides.  Do not crowd the pan.

Beautifully browned ribs.

Beautifully browned ribs.

Do this in batches till they are all browned, adding a little more oil if necessary between batches.  Place on a large platter and set aside.

Set ribs aside while you sauté  the onions.

Set ribs aside while you sauté the onions.

4.  Into the drippings left in the pan, add the sliced onions.  Stir to coat all the onions.  I added the remaining seasonings to the onions at this point, letting them get all golden and softened as I sautéed them.

Getting the onions golden and softened.

Getting the onions golden and softened.

5.  Place onions in the bottom of slow-cooker, layer ribs on top of onions.  Carefully pour beer over the top, taking care not to wash that nice sear and layer of seasoning off the ribs.   Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.

Layer them up in the slow cooker.  Pour beer over the top.

Layer them up in the slow cooker. Pour beer over the top.

6.  Optional step:  When done, remove ribs, and place on a preheated grill.  Grill them until slightly charred.  Brush on your favorite BBQ sauce if desired.

7.  Turn the heat of the slow cooker to HIGH.   With a small whisk, mix the cornstarch and water together.  Pour into the juices in the cooker and cook briefly to thicken. You can also pour the juices into a saucepan and make the onion sauce on the stovetop.  Serve with the ribs.  This is a nicely flavored onion sauce to pour over rice along side the ribs.

Ribs and onion sauce.

Ribs and onion sauce.

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SOURCE:   old newspaper clipping,  Hartford Courant,  ? date.

 

Chili Mac

Chili Mac

Chili Mac

Talk about the need for comfort foods…..it continues here in the Northeast where forecasters are predicting more snow.  A blizzard at sea they’re saying with howling winds and snow along the eastern seaboard and islands.  Oh, no!!  Is this an early April Fool’s Day joke??

Luckily I found this recipe to try and keep us warm.  It is just a little different from my usual way of making chili.  It uses ground turkey and includes macaroni, making a hearty, filling, family-friendly meal with enough to freeze for another meal if you want to.  You can crank up the heat with ground red pepper, or keep it mild if there are sensitive palates at your dinner table.

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Departing from my usual -make  half a recipe- I made the whole amount with the intent of freezing half of it.  This works well for a future meal when you  are in a hurry.  If you do plan to freeze part of it, be sure that the container you use fits in the freezer and also what you’ll be using to reheat it.  You can also  use a zip-lock bag and lay it flat in the freezer so it will stack nicely with other contents of the freezer.  Include the name of the dish, date made and frozen, and instructions for reheating.  Ideally use within 2 months to avoid freezer burn.  To reheat, first thaw somewhat in the microwave until its pliable,  then pour into a baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes to reheat.  Melt some grated cheddar cheese on top for a “just made” look that no-one would suspect had been frozen.

CHILI MAC

Yield:  Serves 8IMG_6921

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces uncooked rotini, spiral macaroni, or wagon wheel pasta
  • 2 cups red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 8-ounce package small mushrooms, chopped
  • 20 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin

    All the seasonings

    All the seasonings

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium marinara sauce
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions:

1.   Preheat oven to 350*F.  Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2.  Cook pasta in boiling water until almost al dente.  Drain.  Combine pasta with beans in a large bowl.

3.  While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil to pan and swirl to coat.  Add onion, pepper, garlic and mushrooms.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.  Add to bowl with pasta and beans.

Sauté the vegetables.

Sauté the vegetables.

Add turkey, cook for 5 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble.

Cook the turkey, stirring to crumble.

Cook the turkey, stirring to crumble.

Add seasonings. (cumin through ground red pepper); Stir in marinara sauce.  Bring to a boil.

4.  Add marinara/turkey mixture to pasta and beans, toss to coat.  Pour desired amount into prepared baking dish.  Top evenly with grated cheddar cheese.

All mixed together.

All mixed together.

5.  Bake at 350*F for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.

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Freeze the remainder, as described above, for another meal.

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SOURCE:    Cooking Light

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus

Did you ever think you would be eating bacon and eggs with spaghetti?  Carbonara means with bacon in a light egg sauce.  So today we have an entree that includes both bacon and eggs.  Paired up with spaghetti, this is a simple peasant-type meal;  add asparagus for its added nutritional value, green color of spring (you can tell I’m waiting here), and textural crunch.  What results is a dish that is so well balanced with flavor, texture and “dish appeal” that you’ll want to taste it right off this page if you could.

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You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry to make this meal, except the asparagus.  If they are available where you live, I urge you not to waste any time in getting some and making this delectable dish.  You won’t be sorry.

SPAGHETTI CARBONARA WITH ASPARAGUS

Yield:    Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Just a few ingredients.

Just a few ingredients.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 1 bunch asparagus, , ends trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and cheese.

Mixing the eggs and cheese together.

Mixing the eggs and cheese together.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, adding the asparagus during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

2.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Add the hot pasta and asparagus to the egg mixture;  toss to coat.

3.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook until crisp; stir in the garlic.

Cooking up the bacon.

Cooking up the bacon.

Add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.  Stir the bacon mixture into the pasta, adding enough of the reserved pasta water to moisten; season with salt and pepper.

This is delectable!

This is delectable!

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Serve with more grated cheese at the table to sprinkle on top.  A tossed green salad completes this meal.

SOURCE:   Everyday with Rachael Ray

Turkey Sausage and Peppers

 Turkey Sausage with Peppers

Turkey Sausage with Peppers

I’ve had a craving the last few days for sausage and peppers in a rich tomato sauce, preferably served over pasta.  When I get an idea like this I can’t forget about it until I make it.  The problem is this is one of the those weeks when I have limited time to spend cooking up a storm in the kitchen.  Luckily I have this recipe for just such occasions.

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Italian turkey sausage takes the place of pork sausage, but still provides all the flavors I love.  The whole meal can be made in about 45 minutes, but tastes like it’s been simmering for hours.  Your family will love it! There are several national brands that make good quality italian turkey sausage, such as Shady Brook Farms,  Jennie-O and Purdue if you don’t have a good butcher nearby.  The variety of peppers I include make this a colorful dish and provide a nice taste contrast to the sausage.  Diced tomatoes with added seasonings are the basis for the sauce.  Served with a salad, this can be a stand-alone entree, or serve it over pastas if you want to round out the meal.

This entree, minus the pasta, comes in at just 388 calories, with only 21 g carbohydrates.  A real bargain if you’re looking to limit calorie intake, but still get big flavor.

TURKEY SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS

Yield:   makes 4 servings

Ingredients:IMG_6546

  • 1  1/4 pounds lean Italian turkey sausage
  • 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 3 assorted bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, optional
  • 1  15-oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped, or use dried basil to taste

Directions

1.  Preheat the broiler.  Pierce the sausages all over with a fork or sharp knife, arrange on a baking sheet and broil, turning halfway through, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.  (They will not be fully cooked.)  Transfer to a cutting board and cut each one in half, or in thirds, on the diagonal.

Sausages pre-browned under the broiler.

Sausages pre-browned under the broiler.

2.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the bell peppers, fennel and onion and cook, stirring, until they soften slightly, 3 minutes.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, the garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds.  Cook, stirring 1 more minute.

Peppers, onion and fennel in the pan.

Peppers, onion and fennel in the pan.

3.  Stir in 1/2 cup water, the tomatoes and basil.  Reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.

Uncover; add the sausages and cook through, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add an additional splash of water if the sauce gets too thick.   Top with more basil to serve.

Sausages added.

Sausages added.

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Serve over pasta for a complete entree.

Serve over pasta for a complete entree.

SOURCE:   Food Network Magazine