Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

I found this recipe on Pinterest.  It was one of the very first things I pinned.  I loved it's simplicity and clean flavors.  The problem was, the recipe was for 2.  I have 6.  Simply multiplying the ingredients didn't work quite right, so it took some trial and error, but now we have it worked out.
This is also one of my fastest pasta recipes short of just dumping a jar of sauce on it.
Don't skip the step about the pasta water.  It will look kind of wet & runny when you first put it in, but it will absorb into the pasta & sauce as you toss it.
The pine nuts I would say are totally optional.  The 6 year old doesn't care for them but the 10 and 4 year olds love them so I keep them in.

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

1 lb. spaghetti
1/2 c. olive oil
2/3 c. grated parmesean cheese
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts (optional)

1.  Prepare spaghetti according to directions (Boil for about 8 minutes). Reserve 1 c. pasta water.
2.  In small pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until lightly browned, a few minutes.
3.  In a small bowl, whisk together garlic oil, lemon juice, and cheese.
4.  Pour the mixture over the hot pasta and toss with a little pasta water, adding about 1/4 c. at a time to moisten.
5.  Toss in pine nuts, basil, and salt & pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

source: via pinterest

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pizza Grilled Cheese

This shouldn't even get a recipe because it is so simple, but otherwise how would people know about it?  I never thought about it until I saw it on pinterest and thought, genius!  Needless to say, the kids and husband both LOVED this one.  The recipe is for 4 sandwiches, but we have to double that amount, so do the math and figure out what you need to make these for your crowd.

Pizza Grilled Cheese
8 slices bread
8 slices mozzarella cheese (or shreds)
4 slices of sandwich sized pepperoni, or about 16-20 of the pizza sized pepperoni
butter or margarine
pizza sauce (I use this one)

1. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
2. Place on hot griddle or pan, butter side down.  Top with one slice mozzarella, pepperoni, another slice of mozzarella, and another slice of bread, butter side up.
3.  When bread is golden on the bottom, carefully flip sandwich.  Cook until golden on the bottom, then remove.  Repeat with remaining ingredients to create 4 sandwiches.  Slice in half (corner to corner) and serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

source:  Forkful of Comfort via Pinterest

Cranberry Pork Loin

I make this often, especially in the fall when the cranberry sauce is on sale.  This most recent time I made it I was unable to take pictures because I had to quickly pack up the food and take it to some local missionaries. It's a good Sunday meal, because it's quick, goes in the slow cooker, and makes your house smell awesome.

Cranberry Pork Loin
3 lb. boneless pork loin roast
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cranberry juice
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. salt.

1.  Place roast in slow cooker.
2.  Combine cranberry sauce, sugar, juice, mustard and cloves.  Pour over roast.
3.  Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
4.  Remove roast and keep warm.
5.  Skim fat from juices.  Pour 2 cups of the juices into a saucepan, adding water if necessary.  Bring to low boil.
6.  Combine the cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. cold water in a small bowl.  Whisk into cranberry gravy to thicken.  Season with salt.  Serve with sliced pork.

source:  Fix It and Forget It Cookbook

Southern Caviar

This was a holiday favorite, but I believe it is equally popular at summertime potlucks.  We nibbled on it with tortilla scoops whilst playing games with the fam over Thanksgiving break last year. I wish there were a more sophisticated name for it, but this is how the recipe came to me and I'm sticking with it.
There are variations to it around.
You COULD add a mild jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine OR 2-3 mild pickled jalapeno slices, minced fine.
You COULD add a can of not-drained Rotel diced tomatoes (that should have a kick).
You COULD substitute shoepeg corn or hominy for the chick peas.
You COULD use green pepper instead of red or yellow.

Southern Caviar

1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (3 if they're in season!)
4 green onion, chopped (include a little of the green tops as you like)
2 garlic cloves, crushed [or a shake of garlic powder (NOT garlic salt)]
1 medium sweet red, orange or yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
1 / 2 cup chopped onion
1 / 2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
8 oz. bottled Italian dressing (I use Wish Bone light Italian)
Mix ingredients and refrigerate couple of hours or overnight; I like to use my favorite plastic 9x13 rectangular Tupperware dish so the dressing soaks all the veggies and takes less room in fridge.
Keeps (if there are any leftovers) for 2-3 days in fridge.
Stir before serving, serve with Scoops or other chips.
source:  Diana B.

Chicken, Escarole and Rice Soup

What is escarole, you ask?  I didn't know, other than it was a leafy, lettuce-y type of vegetable.  The problem was, I didn't know which. Neither did most of the employees at the grocery store. In the produce department, the signs for escarole, endive, bok choy, radicchio, arugula, and bibb and boston lettuces were all grouped together over the display.  It wasn't clear which was which.  I was pretty confident on a few of them, but some left me guessing.  I asked employee after employee to help me with the escarole, and they were all stumped.  Finally the produce manager came and helped me.  It was the least fresh-looking of the bunch, so he gave it to me for $1 instead of the upper $2.xx something that it was advertised for.  Since it was going chopped up into the soup that night I was okay with it's less that perky status, after I removed the outer limpy leaves.

It turns out that I like escarole and it is delicious in this soup.  However, if you don't get slightly limpy escarole from the produce manager, it is more expensive then I like to pay for my greens.  I might suggest, if the escarole is not on sale, trying spinach in the recipe instead.  Slightly different flavor of course, but I find that spinach holds up marvelously in soup and a big Costco sized clamshell of the stuff goes a long way.   I will probably do the spinach until the farmer's market is open and I can get yummy fresh escarole in the summer.

Chicken, Escarole, and Rice Soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 head escarole, trimmed, washed and thinly sliced, approx. 10 cups (can use spinach)
3 14-oz. cans chicken broth
½ c. long-grain rice
¾ lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into small cubes
1 16-oz. can italian diced tomatoes  
black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

1.  In a large pot heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté’ until just beginning to color, about 3 minutes. 
2.  Add escarole (or spinach) and 1 can of broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  
3.  Add the remaining 2 cans of broth and return to a simmer.  
4.  Add rice and simmer for 15 minutes. 
5.  Add chicken and tomatoes, return to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes more or until the rice is tender and the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Season with pepper to taste. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of each bowl of soup.

source:  Carrie J.

Surprise Sausage Pancake Muffins

I found these on pinterest originally.  They were on a stick.  I saw no need for the stick since they would be yet another tool which my kids would use to poke each other, so I dispensed with it and presented them as a muffin.  The kids went wild for them, and ate them up before I could tell them that they could dip them in syrup too (so I kept that part quiet).  They are now a family favorite for on-the-go breakfasts.
I make a double batch at the beginning of the week and the kids can pull them out of the fridge as needed and microwave for 20-30 seconds.  So easy.

Surprise Sausage Pancake Muffins

2 cups (1 batch) of prepared pancake batter  (I like to use this one)
6 cooked sausage links (thawed, not still frozen, if using pre-cooked frozen sausages)
This is the Aldi brand of links that I like to use because they are pre-cooked and I can heat  them up in 1 minute.
1. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.  Using a medium cookie scoop or small measuring cup, divide batter between 12 cups.
2.  Slice sausage links in half.  Place half of each link in a muffin tin, rolling it slightly to cover it with batter.  Don't worry if it isn't 100% covered, the batter will puff up enough to cover it.
3.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes before removing from pan.  Enjoy as-is or dip in maple syrup.  Makes one dozen muffins.
Clearly the back of my stove is hotter than the front.
source:  Weelicious via Pinterest