Sunday, November 19, 2017

"16 Bean" Pasta E Fagioli

I found this recipe in Food Network's magazine in March and had it in my folder to try.  I decided with the colder weather, a nice pot of soup in the crockpot would be great to come home to after church so I tried this one.  DEFINITELY a keeper!  Very flavorful and pretty easy to put together!  The modifications I made was to do the quick soak for beans (put in a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, turn off heat and let sit for 1 hour then drain and rinse), mashed the 1/3 of the beans with a potato masher and only got up to cooking the onions and pancetta then adding in the garlic and red pepper flakes and then stored that in the fridge.  I also cooked the pasta separately so I could dump that in when I got home so it wouldn't be soggy or soak up too much broth.  On Sunday morning, I added the beans, pancetta, garlic and red onion mixture to the crockpot, added the tomatoes, wine and chicken stock and then left it on low while we were gone (5 hours).  When I got home, I added just the pasta and the vinegar and left the cheese for adding at the table since one of the girls can't have dairy.  I also forgot the basil leaves but that was OK!  :)  It made a nice amount and the kids will be taking some in thermoses for lunch tomorrow!  This is absolutely going into the rotation!

Food Network Magazine March 2017

1 (1 lb.) bag Goya 16 Bean Soup Mix
2 Tbsp. good olive oil plus extra for serving
6 oz. pancetta, 1/4” diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1 cup dry red wine
4-6 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup miniature pasta, such as dilating or tubettini
1/2 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1 Tbsp. good red wine vinegar
Julienned fresh basil leaves for serving

The day before you plan to make the souop, place the bean mix in a large bowl, add cold water to cover by 2 inches and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, drain the beans, rinse under cold running water and drain again.  Place the beans in a large pot with 8 cups cold water.  Bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour.  Stir occasionally and skim off any foam that rises to the top.  The beans should be very tender and the skin will peel away when you blow on a bean.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium (10”) stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the pancetta and onion and saute over medium to medium-high heat for 12-18 minutes, until browned.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for one minute.  Add the tomatoes, wine, 4 cups of the chicken stock, 1 Tbsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper and turn off the heat.

Drain the beans and add two-thirds of them to the soup.  Pass the remaining beans through a food mill, discarding the skins.  Stir the bean puree and the pasta into the soup, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender.  Add up to 2 more cups chicken stock if the soup is too thick.  Stir in the Parmesan and the vinegar.  Ladle the soup into large shallow bowls and add a swirl of olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan and some basil.  Serve hot with extra Parmesan on the side.  

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Beef Bourguignon

I found this recipe 3 years ago in the Rachel Ray magazine (Oct. 2014) and held on to the page in a file and finally found it again as I was decluttering.  Since it was getting chilly, I figured I'd try it out and I was so glad I did!  Definite keeper according to the family!  What a wonderful, hearty stew for the fall and winter!


4 slices bacon, chopped
2 lbs. beef chuck stew meat, cut into 1.5” cubes
4 cups white mushrooms, quartered
1.5 lbs. carrots, peeled and chopped into large 1/2” pieces
2 large onions, chopped
4 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. butter 
4 Tbsp. flour
2 cups beef stock
1.5 cups dry red wine
4 Tbsp. fresh thyme

In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium-high until crisp, 4 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.  Season the beef with salt and pepper and add it to the pot in a single layer.  Cook, stirring, until browned all over, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occoasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the cooked meat, carrots, onion, tomato paste and butter.  Season and cook, stirring 1 minute.  Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.  Stir in the stock, wine and 2 Tbsp. thyme; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the meat is tender and the sauce thickens, about 1.5 hours.

Stir in the cooked bacon; season.  Divide among bowls, garnish with the remaining thyme.  

*Serve with a nice crusty bread and a salad.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Quick and Easy Chicken Chow Mein

I got this recipe YEARS ago from a Pillsbury cookbook.  It is easy to make and tastes pretty much like regular Chow Mein!  

Quick and Easy Chicken Chow Mein

2 cups uncooked regular long grain white rice
4 cups water
3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (8 oz) pkg (3 cups) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 (14.5 oz.) can ready to serve fat free chicken broth
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 (2 oz.) jar diced pimientos, drained
8 oz. fresh bean sprouts, rinsed
1/3 cup cold water
1-2 Tbsp. cornstarch
Crunchy Chinese noodles to serve

Cook rice in water as directed on package.

Meanwhile, in large non-stick skillet, combine chicken, celery, onion, mushrooms, broth, soy sauce and pimientos.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  

Stir in bean sprouts.  In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup water and cornstarch, blend until smooth.  Over medium-high heat, gradually add cornstarch mixture to chicken mixture, stirring constantly until thickened.  Serve over rice and sprinkle with crunchy noodles as desired.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Chicken and Corn Enchilada Casserole

This came from Wholly Guacamole and it is really good!  Very easy to put together and a great way to use leftover chicken!

Chicken and Corn Enchilada Casserole

1 15 oz. can corn
1 15 oz. can creamed corn
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 package corn bread mix
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup enchilada sauce

Mix all together the two corns, the sour cream, ricotta cheese and corn bread mix.  Pour into greased 2 quart casserole.  Bake at 350 degree for 50-60 minutes or until firm.  

Remove from oven and poke holes in the mixture with a fork.  Pour 1/2 cup of the red enchilada sauce over the casserole then top with the shredded chicken and cheese.  Top with the other 1/2 of the enchilada sauce.  Bake another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and chicken is hot.

Serve topped with salsa and guacamole.

Pasta Primavera

I got this recipe years ago in our local paper, Newsday.  It has even been requested as a birthday dinner, it is that good!

Pasta Primavera

16 oz. penne or bow tie pasta
1/2 lb. bite size broccoli florets (about 4 cups)
1 medium zucchini (about 3/4 lb) cut lengthwise into quarters then sliced in 1/2” pieces
1/2 lb. Canadian bacon, cut in 1/4” dice
1 cup light sour cream
4 Tbsp milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 (7 oz) jar roasted peppers, cut in 1/2” strips
2 carrots, grated

Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water for 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Add the zucchini and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Drain.

Meanwhile, salute the bacon over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet for 3 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream, milk and Parmesan cheese.  Toss the sauce with the pasta, tomatoes, roasted peppers and carrots and serve immediately.

Pork Cutlets with Creamy Garlic Sauce and Spinach

I got this recipe from Woman's Day way back in 2002 and it was a standard here for a long time but it fell off the radar.  I made it last week and it is making it back on the rotation again!  I forgot how good and easy it is!!  Plus with pork so cheap now, it is a perfect way to feed the family for not a lot of money.

Pork Cutlets with Creamy Garlic Sauce and Spinach

3 Tbsp. seasoned dried bread crumbs
4  4oz boneless thin cut pork chops
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bag (12 oz) fresh spinach
1 pt. cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup garlic and herb spreadable cheese (Alouette is one brand)
1 Tbsp. milk
1 jar (4 oz.) sliced pimientos, drained
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Spread bread crumbs on wax paper or place in a bowl; dip cutlets in crumbs to coat on both sides.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet.  Add cutlets; cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes, turning once, until cooked through.  Remove to a plate; cover and keep warm.

Add half the spinach and all of the tomatoes to skillet.  Cook, tossing often, 1 minute or until spinach starts to cook down.  Add the rest of spinach; cook, tossing, 2 minutes or until spinach wilts and tomato skins begin to split.

Microwave cheese and 1 Tbsp. milk in a covered small bowl on high 45 seconds or until melted.  Stir in pimientos and parsley; drizzle over pork.  Serve with spinach and tomatoes.

Crockpot Chinese Orange Beef

This is a nice easy recipe for a busy day.  Very yummy over rice!

Crockpot Chinese Orange Beef

2 lbs. cubed beef stew meat
1/2 cup thick teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup orange marmelade
1 tsp. each minced garlic and fresh ginger
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2" thick strips
6 oz. snow peas, strings removed
4 scallions, thinly sliced

In crockpot, add beef, teriyaki sauce, orange marmalade, garlic and ginger.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until beef is tender.

Turn to high.  Stir in pepper strips and snow peas; cover and cook on high 10 minutes until vegetables are crisp tender.  Top with scallions and serve over white rice.

Watermelon and Feta Salad

I found this recipe in a magazine a few years ago and am going through some old papers to declutter and found this.  It looked great and it went with what we were eating one night so we tried it.  Oh my gosh - it was fantastic!  What great flavors and the combination of salty, sweet and tangy was SOOO perfect!  Try it as a great summer salad!

Watermelon and Feta Salad

  2 Tbsp. olive oil
  1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  1 Tbsp. lime juice
  1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

  1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  1 lb. piece seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into thin chunks
  1/2 seedless cucumber, cut in half horizontally, sliced
  3 cups baby arugula
  3 oz. feta cheese

In a bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.  Add onion and let sit 10 minutes.

Add watermelon, cucumber and arugula to bowl.  Gently toss to combine.

Top salad with crumbled feta and serve.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Crunchy Chinese Slaw

I wish I could remember what magazine I found this in but I had cut it out and had it in my folder and decided to try it tonight.  It was SO good!!  Served with grilled chicken or steak and you're set!  It was super easy to make and on this super hot day, quite refreshing!

Crunchy Chinese Slaw

1 package broccoli slaw or cole slaw mix
1 cup slice water chestnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup mandarin orange segments, no liquid
4 scallions, chopped
2/3 cup Newman's Own Sesame Ginger Dressing
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and you're done!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Red Curry Squash Soup with Tofu Croutons

I found this recipe in the January 2017 edition of Real Simple and MAN was it good!  I would change a few things for my family's taste but otherwise it was really amazing.  I wouldn't use the tofu again but for those who would want it, freshly made lightly crisped croutons would be really good as would toasted pumpkin seeds.  The soup has a very light kick and I didn't bother with the peppers because I figured we wouldn't love the extra spicy peppers (well, Robby would but not the rest of us) and I ended up adding about a teaspoon of sugar because the squash I got wasn't all that sweet.  This will absolutely make it on the menu again!  Sorry the picture isn't pretty - I forgot to take a picture of it in a bowl and instead had to get a picture of it in the leftover container as I put it in the fridge.  :)


1 medium butternut squash, diced (about 4 cups)
4 Tbsp. red curry paste
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
8 oz. extra firm tofu
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 head baby bok choy, thinly sliced
1 Fresno chili, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

1.  Combine the squash, curry paste, and vegetable stock in a large saucepan over high heat.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, 12-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.  Transfer to a blender, add the coconut milk, and process until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, press the tofu with paper towels until very dry.  Cut into 1" cubes and season with 1/2 tsp. salt.  Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the tofu and cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.  Drain on paper towels.

3.  Toss the bok choy, chile and lime juice in a medium bowl; season with salt.  Reheat soup if necessary and serve topped with the tofu and book choy mixture.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

This is a pretty easy meal to put together and looks lovely.  This is a regular request from my kids.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

1 whole cooked chicken, bones removed, meat diced or shredded (5-6 cups)
1/2 lb. very thinly sliced deli-style honey ham, rough chopped
1/4 lb. thin sliced baby swiss cheese
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
3 cups whole milk (must be whole milk)
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1 1/2 tsp. crushed dried parsley

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9x13" baking dish.  Place chicken in the bottom of the dish, scatter the ham over the chicken and lay the swiss cheese over the top of the ham.

2.  To cook the sauce:  Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat.  When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth paste.  Do not brown.  Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and pepper.  Bring sauce back to a low boil and turn off heat.  Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.

3.  Combine the melted butter, bread crumbs and parsley together.  Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.

4.  Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Eggplant Supper Soup

This is a recipe that I got from my uncle who passed away in the '70s.  I'm not sure if this was original to him or not but it's been a family favorite for years!  It's hearty and easy to put together.  I've frozen it with and without the pasta and I prefer without the pasta and just adding it later when I heat it up.

Eggplant Supper Soup

2 Tbsp. each oil and butter
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced or mashed
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup each chopped carrots and sliced celery
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
28 oz. beef broth
1 tsp. each salt and sugar
1/2 tsp. each pepper and nutmeg
1/2 cup salad macaroni (we use dilating)
2 Tbsp. minced parsley
grated parmesan cheese for serving

1.  Heat the oil and butter in a large pot.  Add the onion and salute until limp, about 3 minutes.  Add the meat and stir over the heat until it looses its pinkness.
2.  Add the garlic, eggplant, carrots, celery, tomatoes (break tomatoes with a fork), beef broth, salt, sugar, pepper and nutmeg.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the macaroni and parsley and simmer 6-8 minutes or until macaroni is tender.
3.  Serve with parmesan cheese.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Chocolate Bread Pudding

I got this recipe from our local newspaper years ago and it is still a favorite.  I use bread ends that I save up in the freezer and it works GREAT!  Hubby also prefers raisins in his so I do 1/3 raisins and 2/3 chocolate chips.  Sorry the picture shows the bread pudding already served.  I couldn't stop them!

Chocolate Bread Pudding

1 12 oz. loaf day old Italian bread cut into 1" cubes
6 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz.) bag semi sweet morsels
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Butter a 13x9" baking dish.
3.  Put bread cubes in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sugar with milk, cream and vanilla.  Pour egg mixture over bread, combine well and pour into pan.  Sprinkle with chocolate morsels.  Refrigerate fora half an hour.
4.  Combine cinnamon and sugar.  Sprinkle mixture on the top of the pudding.  Bake for 40 minutes.