Sunday, September 23, 2007

Baked Pasta with Spinach, Mushrooms and Leeks

Adapted from Cooking Light
Jean Kressy, April 2003

If you don't like creamed spinach you won't like this dish. It has a very creamed-spinachy taste. I might try it again with broccoli in place of the spinach.

8 oz penne rigatti
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
2 teaspoons butter
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leek (about 2 large)
1lb baby portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Place the flour in a medium saucepan. Gradually add the milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook until thick (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan, cottage cheese, and next 4 ingredients (cottage cheese through spinach).
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek and mushrooms; sauté 7 minutes or until tender. Drain well, and return to pan. Stir in parsley, oregano, and garlic. Spread 1 cup spinach mixture onto the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Mix remaining spinach mixture with noodles and shredded mozzarella. Spread into dish, making sure all noodles are at least partially covered with spinach mixture. Cover and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan and fontina. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes.

Challah French Toast with Apples

For French Toast:
6 1.5-2 inch slices of challah bread
3 eggs
1/2 - 3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp Vanilla
2 tsp Cinnamon
Combine eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in shallow dish.
Heat griddle over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Begin soaking the bread slices in the egg mixture for 30 sec-1 min per side depending on thickness. Add egg-drenched bread slices to griddle and cook until brown (with a crisp crust) on first side before turning. Add butter as needed. Cook other side until brown and crisp. Continue with remaining slices keeping cooked slices warm in toaster oven. Top with powdered sugar before serving.
For Apples:
3 apples sliced thinly
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tbsp Brown Sugar
Melt butter in skillet. Add apples and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Cook over medium heat until apples soften and glaze thickens - about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Fresh Tomato Baked Penne

adapted from Cooking Light's "Fresh Tomato Lasagna" April, 2004

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, minced

7 cups chopped peeled tomato (about 4 pounds)

2/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided

2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese object

Cooking Spray

About 4 ounces penne

1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat; add onion and garlic. Cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomato; bring to a boil. It helps to stir and release the tomato juices. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour and 20 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Remove from heat; stir in 2/3 cup basil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat ricotta in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot; stir in mozzarella, stirring until melted. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Spread 2 cups tomato mixture in bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Mix noodles with ricotta mixture and spread into dish. Top with remaining 2 cups tomato mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts and filling is bubbly. Remove from oven; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon basil. Let stand 5 minutes.

Cooking Light, APRIL 2004

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Brisket with Vegetables

This recipe originally came from somewhere on-line.

If it's yours, please let me know so that I can give you credit for it.

4 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp kosher salt (plus more to season)

4 springs rosemary (strip needles and chop)

1/4 extra virgin olive oil

1 brisket (about 4 lbs)

black pepper

15-20 baby carrots

3 celery stalk cut to same size as carrots

3 large onions, halved

2 cups red wine

16 oz canned whole tomatoes (crush by hand)


3 bay leaves

Heat oven to 325.

Mash garlic and 1/2 tsp kosher salt with side of knife to make a paste. Add rosemary and mash in to incoroporate. Move to bowl and combine with 2 tbl olive oil.

Season all sides of brisket with salt and pepper. Heat skillet (or roasting pan) over medium-high and coat with remaining olive oil. Add brisket and sear on all sides. Place in roasting pan and add onions, carrots and celery. Pour (or spread) rosemary paste over meat and vegetables.

Add wine, tomatoes, parsley and bay leaves.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 3-4 hours, basting every 30 minutes.

Remove brisket to cutting board, cover with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Keep vegetables warm. Pour pan juices into saucepan and boil over medium-high head, stirring, until the juices reduce. (Add 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour for thicker gravy.)

Slice brisket on a diagonal against the grain of the meat. Serve with homestyle egg noodles.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pretty Pasta Salad

1 lb penne rigatti

1 pack Good Seasons Mild Italian dressing (make according to directions)

Kraft 3 cheese Crumbles

Cucumber, chopped
Grape Tomatoes, sliced

Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Cook penne. Run cold water over it and drain it. Combine penne, cheese and vegetables. Toss and coat with the prepared dressing. Makes 6-8 servings.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Fudgy Mocha-Toffee Brownies

(Cooking Light)

These were delicious!! I made two pans -- one with the toffee and one without. The mocha flavor is really nice and I love how dense they are. Yum!

Cooking spray

2 tablespoons instant coffee granules

1/4 cup hot water

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/4 cup toffee chips

Preheat oven to 350º.
Coat bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
Combine coffee and hot water, stirring until coffee dissolves.
Combine butter and chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high 1 minute or until butter melts; stir until chocolate is smooth.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine coffee mixture, butter mixture, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add coffee mixture to flour mixture; stir just until combined. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with toffee chips. Bake at 350º for 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield 20 servings

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 145(30% from fat); FAT 4.8g (sat 2.4g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.3g); PROTEIN 2.2g; CHOLESTEROL 30mg; CALCIUM 23mg; SODIUM 121mg; FIBER 1.1g; IRON 0.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 24.9g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2005

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sausage and Pepper Baked Pasta

1 lb basil and sun dried tomato chicken sausage

1 lb farfalle

1/2 lg onion chopped

2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 medium red bell pepper chopped

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

dried basil

2 cups shredded mozarella

1 cup jarred tomato basil pasta sauce



Preheat oven to 350. Spray one 4qt or 2 qt baking dishes with cooking spray.

Remove sausage from casing. Brown in a large skillet, breaking it up into small pieces. Meanwhile, cook pasta. Add onion and garlic to sausage. Cook until onion is tender and begining to brown. Add red pepper and continue to cook until pepper is tender. Add crushed tomatoes and desired amount of dried basi, salt and pepperl to sausage mixture. Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes. Combine drained, cooked pasta and sausage/tomato mixture. Add half of sausage/pasta mixture to each baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 of mozarella. Add rest of sausage/pasta mixutre and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. **If pasta is not covered in tomatoes, it will dry out. Drizzle with some pasta sauce either before or in the middle of baking.