Posts tagged ‘FAVORITE’

Tortellini and Asparagus in a Red Wine Cream Sauce

This recipe is one I invented, inspired by a dish at a favorite Italian restaurant. I’m curious to know your thoughts. If you try it out, please let me know if there’s anything you’d change. Thanks!

7 oz package refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 slices bacon
1 cup diced Vidalia onion
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
1 Tbsp flour

Cook tortellini according to package directions.

Separate bacon into bite-size pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the skillet. Add onion and mushrooms to skillet. Cook and stir for 4 minutes, or until onions are transparent and mushrooms are tender.

Add asparagus and stir. Add wine, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to half (about 7 minutes).

Add bacon and cream to skillet. Bring to a boil. Add flour, cook and stir for 30 seconds. Serve sauce over cooked tortellini.

This recipe is meant to be rich and creamy, so if you use a lean bacon, you might want to add a bit of butter to the skillet at the start. Also, I learned that if you add a touch of oil to the pot before you boil the tortellini, it’ll keep them from sticking together and tearing apart.


May 24 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Gnocchi al Pesto

An amazing dish I had at a local restaurant inspired me to try making gnocchi for the first time. I’d seen it in the store and heard it talked about on The Food Network, but this was my first shot at making it.

Turns out that potato gnocchi (pronounced nyō’kē) is not only SO GOOD, it’s also super quick and easy to make. This recipe* is a great way to get started making (or in our case, eating!) gnocchi.

1 18-ounce package potato gnocchi
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup chopped sweet yellow pepper
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1 cup chopped tomatoes

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the zucchini and yellow pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Drain gnocchi; add gnocchi and pesto to skillet. Gently stir until well coated. Stir in tomatoes. Sprinkle with pine nuts if desired.


*posted by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen on

June 29 at 4:08 pm 3 comments

World’s Best Lasagna

That sounds pretty cocky, huh?

Don’t blame me — I didn’t come up with it! The recipe is named as such on by user Johnchandler. So what makes this lasagna the best in the world? Well, it tastes amazing, for starters. And who am I to argue with the 2,500 people who have given this recipe an average of 5 out of 5 stars?!

The husband and I made this for Valentine’s Day. It was a little time consuming, but fun to make (a little work-together time, you know?)  and totally worth the wait.

The lasagna is really thick and hearty, so a 9×13 pan of it easily serves 12.

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
2 6.5-oz cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well-browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375º.

To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

World's Best Lasagna

April 10 at 8:42 pm Leave a comment

Festive Rotini

I was drawn to this recipe in Good Housekeeping because of its label, healthy in a hurry. I’m pretty sure it’s called “festive” because it has red and green in it and was in the December issue of the magazine.

Whatever its name, I call it wonderful!

12 oz rotini*
12 oz broccoli
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c Romano cheese

Heat oven to 450º. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli during last three minutes. Toss tomatoes, garlic, oil, and salt in bowl. Spread tomato mixure in 9 x 13 pan and roast 15 minutes or until tomatoes wrinkle and begin to burst, stirring halfway through cook time.

Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain pasta. Add pasta water to pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Return all ingredients to pot and stir in cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

*Make the smart choice. Use whole-grain pasta. 🙂

Festive Rotini

January 23 at 8:51 pm 1 comment

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas with Gooey Jack Cheese

The name’s quite a mouthful, huh? Ha ha! 🙂

I got this recipe from Robin Miller, who has a show on the Food Network called “Quick Fix Meals.”  I made these for some girlfriends, and then again for my husband, and they were a hit.  Not exactly an authentic enchilada recipe, but the dish wasn’t hard to make and was full of flavor.

Note: Robin’s recipe has you cook enough chicken to use for another recipe.  If you’re just making this, use only 1 pound.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 4-oz can diced green chilies
1/3 prepared salsa, mild, medium, or hot
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 8-inch flour tortillas
1 1/3 cups shredded Monterey jack and/or Cheddar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute 2 minutes.  Add chicken and saute 5 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove half of the chicken and reserve for another use.

Stir in black beans, green chilies, and salsa and simmer 5 minutes, until sauce thickens and reduces.  Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Arrange 4 tortillas on a flat surface.  Top each tortilla with an equal amount of chicken mixture.  Roll up tortillas and place side by side in a shallow baking dish.  Top tortillas with shredded cheese (1/3 cup per tortilla).

Bake enchiladas 15 minutes, until cheese is golden and gooey!

November 24 at 9:47 pm Leave a comment

Mom’s Mexican Casserole

Yup, that’s what it says in my cookbook… “Mom’s Mexican Casserole.” Because this dish is one my mother’s been making for as long as I can remember. It’s one of my comfort foods, and it’s SO easy to make!

This one’s good for a crowd or for lots and lots of leftovers (which is what we did this time around). It’s definitely not the healthiest thing around, but it’s so tasty! 🙂 Pair it with a salad and you’re set.

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can diced tomatoes w/ green chilies, drained
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
2/3 bag tortilla chips
8 oz shredded cheddar

Brown the ground beef. Mix up all ingredients except chips and cheese. Cover a 9×13 pan with half of the chips and spread with half of the mixture. Layer the remaining chips and mixture and top with cheese. Heat at 350° until hot (about 8 minutes).

The unhealthy kicker here is the beef and the cheese. Remember, though, you can do what we did and cut a lot of the fat by using ground turkey instead of ground beef and cheese made with lowfat milk. All the flavor with less fat!

It looks totally gross, but it tastes SOOOOO good!


April 1 at 9:59 pm Leave a comment

Chicken Jambalaya

Ok, I really can’t take the credit here as my husband did all of the cooking. However, this is a recipe that we both enjoyed VERY much last week. Again, this one comes from my 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker book, and it’s probably my favorite recipe from there so far.

8 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 16-oz pkg frozen stirfry veggies (red, green, and yellow peppers and onions)
8 oz smoked turkey sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups water
1 14 1/2-oz can diced tomatoes with jalapeños, undrained
1 8-oz pkg jambalaya rice mix

Place veggies in a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker. Top with chicken strips and sausage. Add water, tomatoes, and seasoning packet from rice (if present). Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in rice mix and turn to high-heat setting. Cover and cook 45 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

This is a GREAT one-bowl recipe. It’s full of lean meat and veggies and is just the right amount of filling. It’s got a good spice, but nothing too dangerous 🙂 I’m sure this would be even better with fresh peppers and onions… feel free to give that a try and tell me what you think. The frozen veggies are a nice convenience, though, and you actually don’t lose much nutritional value.

Check out the interesting history of jambalaya as well as some great ingredient variations at Wikipedia.


March 24 at 9:41 pm 1 comment

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