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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Green Beans

The name says it all! Years ago, my friend Kevin made these amazing green beans for dinner. He said that he always served them for the holidays, due to their festive red and green color scheme.  The  green beans come together so quickly and are the perfect addition to your holiday table.  Some of the grapes tomatoes "pop" during the cooking and the sauce they create is divine.  I served them alongside crabcakes for a simple dinner party meal.  I prefer to get the French green beans at Costco, mainly because they are so much more tender than the green beans I get at my grocer.
Christmas Green Beans

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 pint grape tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the greens beans and tomatoes, sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring often, for 4 to 5 minutes. Serve.
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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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