Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Back at it

I felt like I was my old self again last week!  I got 4 cooked meals to the table and once again had lots of leftovers in the refrigerator.  With warmer temperatures, I definitely have the itch to cook out at some point.

Dempsey is doing a great job with his schedule.  He continues to be indecisive as to what he wants, but that's got to be a typical guy trait, right???  He is such a smiley boy and loves it when people talk to him.

Some of the recipes I will be making this week were found on Pinterest.  This site is so addicting and so fun!

***Ok, I love lasagna, but it can be so time consuming to make.  Here's a version I found that can be made on the stovetop.  I found it at this site here.  Have fun exploring this site!  It has amazing freezer meals.  I think I may double this recipe to have some in the freezer for the week I go back to work.
Skillet Lasagna
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh italian sausage, crumbled
10 dry curly edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
1 (8oz) tomato sauce
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese + more for serving
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Pour diced tomatoes with their juices into 1-quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 quart; set aside.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add italian sausage and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in cheeses. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta, cover, and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Prepare recipe above as directed up until you scatter the pasta. Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is barely al dente, about 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer dish into oven- and freezer safe container. Allow dish to cool and then freeze. When ready to prepare, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Defrost completely and place container on a baking sheet. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.

***Stuffed peppers are also a favorite of mine and I love this variation I found on this site.  This recipe calls for ground turkey which is a healthy alternative to ground beef.
Southwestern Stuffed Peppers
  • Olive Oil ( I used Tahitian lime olive oil)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 heaping tbsp of homemade taco seasoning (or you can use the packaged type if you like)
  • 2 cups of cooked rice (any type you like – I like brown)
  • 3-4 organic bell peppers, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
  • ½ cup of organic frozen corn
  • 1 (15 -16 ounce) jar of salsa (my favorite is mango peach)
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Toppings:
  • fresh cilantro
  • sour cream
  • sliced avocado
Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat the peppers with olive oil and roast in a baking dish about 20-25 minutes just until cooked thru. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them.
*****Note – make sure you cook your turkey ahead of time that way you do not have to worry about it later. Also, I sauteed the onions until cooked thru, I then added in my cooked rice, black beans and corn.
In a bowl add the taco seasoning, cooked ground turkey, chopped onions, black beans, corn and rice. Add in the jar of salsa and mix well.
Carefully spoon the turkey mixture into each half of the bell peppers and place back into the baking dish. Cook the peppers for another 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are cooked all the way thru. Before removing from the oven sprinkle the tops of each pepper with shredded cheddar cheese. Place back into the oven just until the cheese has melted.
Remove from the oven and top with fresh cilantro, avocado slices and/or sour cream just before serving.

***I also got my Southern Living magazine this week.  It had some great kid-friendly, healthy simple recipes.  Chicken breasts are on sale this week at our local grocery store.  I'm going to try this simple meal this week and I will also include some of the other simple meals they included for kids.

Two-Ingredient Chicken Strips
Chicken breasts cut into strips.
Marinate the chicken strips in ranch dressing for a few hours.

How simple is that?!

I also want to try these for lunch this week:
Hazelnut-Strawberry Sandwiches
Smear hazelnut spread and strawberry jam on white bread.

What a nice change from the old standby peanut butter and jelly!

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