Saturday, December 29, 2007

Angel Hair Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Well, it's been over a month since I've posted! I haven't done a ton of cooking in the last month. December is a crazy month for me at work and that in combination with holiday shopping hasn't left me with much time. But now that I've had a bit of vacation, I'm ready to go again!

This recipe comes from Everyday Pasta by Giada DeLaurentiis, a book which I received from my husband for Christmas. It has a lot of great looking recipes and I intend cook each one of them at some point. I chose this recipe first because it looked fairly simple and I had just gone to Trader Joe's and picked up some goat cheese. By the way, if you have a Trader Joe's near you and you're as frustrated with I am at the prices of specialty cheeses at your local grocery store, you must visit! I got a 10 oz log of goat cheese for about $3.50. Normally, I pay that much for 5 oz at my regular grocery store. Unfortunately, the closest Trader Joe's isn't convenient enough for a weekly visit, so it's a special treat for me to make a visit! Anyway, this dish turned out to be really delicious. It will definitely be making another appearance at our dinner table.

Angel Hair Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Recipe courtesy of: Everyday Pasta by Giada DeLaurentiis


  • 1 (10 oz) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped (oil reserved)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Heat three tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and chopped sun-dried tomatoes and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta and parsley to the tomato mixture and toss to coat, adding some of the reserved pasta water to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper. Mound the pasta in bowls, sprinkle with the goat cheese, and serve.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Potato Leek Soup

This is one of my husband's favorite recipes and a really nice creamy soup for a chilly fall evening. I have to say that cleaning and chopping the leeks is not really my favorite thing, but I suffer through it for the sake of this delicious meal!

I did make a couple of changes to this recipe. Instead of using the "bouquet garni" I used ground black pepper, and dried herbs. I suppose if you didn't want little specks in your white soup, you could go for Emeril's technique, but I didn't care. Also, I left out the white pepper because I didn't have any and I also left out the cream. Once you blend the soup, I think it's creamy enough without.

Potato and Leek Soup
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse/Food Network

  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 pound
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives

Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)

Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.

Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.

Pesto Tomato Pizza

As I think I've mentioned before, Friday nights is pizza night at our place. Nine times out of ten we made Hawaiian pizza, but every once in a while I try to change it up. This pizza was a little heavy due to the very oily store-bought pesto, but still tasted quite delicious! It would probably be better with homemade if you can get your hands on any decent basil this time of year.

Pesto Tomato Pizza
Recipe courtesy of me and the hubby


  • pizza dough
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • pesto sauce
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 tomatoes

Roll out pizza dough and precook in a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Spread pesto sauce across crust, top with sliced tomatoes, chopped red onion, and sliced mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Gravy

I really like enchiladas, but I've been wanting to try a different sauce than the tomato based kind. I got this recipe from another blog, Smells Like Home, and thought it looked yummy! I really loved the shredded chicken mixture sooo much better than ground beef. Although the chili sauce was a nice change, I think it ended up being maybe a little too much chili powder for my liking. I might experiment with the flavors a little more next time and tone it down a bit.

Chicken Enchiladas with Chili Gravy
Recipe Courtesy of Tara from "Smells Like Home"

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1/2 a green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chili gravy (recipe follows)
  • 4 flour tortillas **I used 5 and had plenty of filling**
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and peppers and cook for about 5 min. Add shredded chicken and stir. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Remove from pan and set aside. Using the same pan, make the chili gravy as follows.
Chili Gravy


  • 1/4 cup lard **I used vegetable oil**
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp powdered garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (Mexican oregano is preferred if it’s available)
  • 2 T chili powder (either homemade or a dark brand such as Gebhardt’s or Whole Foods or McCormick)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients. Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. **It took about 8 minutes for me** Add water to adjust the thickness. Makes 2 cups.
  3. Once the chili gravy is done, add 1/2 a cup to the chicken mixture and stir. Spoon the chicken mixture into the flour tortilla shells and roll up. Spread another half cup of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and place the rolled tortillas in the dish. Top with the remaining cup of sauce and shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 min. **I served with some sour cream**

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Menu Planning 11/18-11/24


Lunch - Leftovers
Dinner - Grilled Tuna and Cheese, Green Beans


Broiled Tilapia
Baked Sweet Potato Fries


Chicken in a mushroom pan sauce
Sauteed baby spinach


At Parents' for Thanksgiving


Left-overs or Pasta

Sunday, October 28, 2007

spinach and artichoke dip

For my sister's birthday party, I decided to make some spinach and artichoke dip to go with the sandwiches my mom was putting together. I looked at a few different recipes, but decided on this one because it didn't involve a ton of ingredients and seemed pretty simple to put together. Rather than using a food processor, as the directions call for, I just chopped up the garlic and artichokes and mixed everything in a bowl. It seemed to go over really well - even with people who generally don't like spinach and artichokes!

Sorry, no pictures this time! My changes are included (***).

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Recipe courtesy Juan-Carlos Cruz/Food Network


1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
4 cloves garlic, crushed **I chopped it
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, plus more as needed **I didn't have any, so I just left it out
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
Carrot sticks, celery sticks or baked tortilla strips, for serving**I served with pita chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Squeeze all excess liquid from spinach, place in a food processor with sour cream, Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, the cream cheese, garlic, pepper and hot sauce. **I just mixed in a bowl, making sure the garlic was finely chopped.

Process until just blended but still slightly lumpy. Add artichokes and pulse to form a chunky mixture. **Again - I just made sure the artichokes were chopped small and mixed them in. Place in a 1-quart baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks or baked tortilla strips.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

This has nothing to do with cooking, but it does involve yummy food, so I thought it was fair game. My birthday was last Monday and my husband surprised me with a yummy cake from Cold Stone Creamery. The delicious treat was made of red velvet cake, along with strawberry ice cream, whipped frosting, and topped with frozen strawberries. YUM!

Stuffed Chicken Breast

Many of the ladies on the cooking board that I frequent are very enthusiastic about goat cheese and I thought it was time to try cooking with it! I had remembered seeing this recipe on somebody's blog (sorry I don't remember who! **Edit: It was MrsPresley's Blog!) but found the original on the Cooking Light website. I served the chicken with some sauteed green beans and a boxed wild rice mix.

I have to say that before eating this meal, my husband claimed to "hate" goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. After eating this dish, he is totally open to them and we actually put them both on pizza last night!

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Recipe courtesy Cooking Light, March 2004


1 cup boiling water
cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
teaspoon salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water


Combine boiling water and tomatoes in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and finely chop.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup shallots, sugar, and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Spoon into a bowl; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar.

Combine chopped tomatoes, shallot mixture, cheese, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring well.

Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add broth, remaining shallots, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and thyme; bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick, stirring constantly. Serve sauce over chicken.


4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 2 tablespoons sauce)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 296(23% from fat); FAT 7.6g (sat 3g,mono 2.9g,poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 43.8g; CHOLESTEROL 105mg; CALCIUM 62mg; SODIUM 787mg; FIBER 0.9g; IRON 2.4mg;

Tortilla Soup

This soup was absolutely delicious! I actually didn't do the whole tortilla strips part, which I guess just makes it a southwest chicken soup. I also ended up adding about 2 cups of corn, and a can of black beans to make it a little more substantial. I've included the original recipe here and noted the changes I made (**).

Emeril's Quick Tortilla Soup
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse and

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped, or 1 pasilla or green bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 cups chicken stock or canned, low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound cooked chicken, shredded
**2 cups frozen corn (thawed)
**1 can black beans
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
6 stale corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped, optional garnish
Chipotle Crema, optional garnish, recipe below **I just garnished with plain sour cream

In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, salt, cumin, and coriander for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and lime juice, and stir well. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot or electric fryer to 350 degrees F. Add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with the Essence. **I skipped this and the soup was still great

Ladle the soup into 4 or 6 serving bowls. Garnish each serving with the fried tortilla strips, avocado and Chipotle Crema, as desired. **I left off the avocado, but sprinkled some cheddar cheese on top

Apple Walnut Cake

I've been wanting to update for a while, but have been soooooo busy with work and graduate courses. Also, our camera broke in September and it took us a few weeks to replace it. The recipes are not nearly as much fun without the pictures!

My mother-in-law has been making this cake for a while, and this was my first attempt. You'll notice as this blog continues that I very rarely bake. I'm just not a huge fan of making exact measurements, but this looked so easy and tasted so good that I thought I'd put all that aside and try it out. It came out great! I'll probably be making it again to take to my Mom's for Thanksgiving.

Apple Walnut Cake
Recipe Courtesy of my Mother-in-law

1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups apples, unpeeled, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cream oil and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Sift dry ingredients and spices together. Add to sugar mixture. Add vanilla, apples and nuts to
batter and fold all together. Bake in a well greased Bundt pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan.

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan and Pesto Pasta

We've been trying to eat more fish lately and this recipe has been raved about on the cooking board I frequent, so I thought I'd try it. It was so quick and easy and really tasted delicious! My husband says it's the best fish dish I've ever made so I think it will be making some more appearances on my menu! I served this with some sauteed green beans and whole-wheat pasta with pesto sauce.

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
Recipe Courtesy of All Recipes

Serves 8 (I cut the recipe in half when I made it)


  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder**I didn't have any so I left it out
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt**I used celery seed instead because that's what I had
  • 2 pounds tilapia filet

Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

For the pesto sauce I just processed the following in the food processor:

1 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts (pine nuts are more traditional, but I like walnuts too)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove

This makes enough sauce for about 6-8 oz. pasta. It's one of our favorite summer dishes to make when fresh basil is plentiful. It also freezes really well, making for a nice change of pace in the middle of winter.

Tomato and Garlic Pizza

Pizza is a meal that my husband enjoys making, which makes it great on nights that I don't feel like cooking! There's no real recipe for this since we just kind of throw it together with whatever toppings we have. We're also still experimenting with the best way to get the cooked. Recently, we've been pre-cooking the dough before adding the toppings and it seems to work out well. Here's the general idea...

Tomato and Garlic Pizza
Recipe Courtesy of Me and the Hubby!


  • 1 package store-bought raw dough
  • flour for rolling
  • olive oil to coat pan
  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
  • 2-3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 small can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheese (we use the "italian blend" which includes mozzarella and parm. I think)
  • 2-3 vine-ripe tomatoes
  • grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease pan with olive oil so dough doesn't stick. Roll out dough until it fits your pan (we use a rectangular cookie sheet). Poke holes in the dough with a fork so it can aerate and bubbles don't form. Sprinkle the dough with oregano, basil, and parmesan cheese. Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the dough from the oven and cover with slices tomatoes, garlic, and cheese. Turn oven up to 400 degrees and bake pizza another 10 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbling. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese as desired.

Again, these are all approximate cooking times and we're still experimenting to find a system that works best, but it always tastes delicious! Enjoy!

Apple Crisp

We found a really great orchard not far from us and took home a bag full of fresh apples. I figured there was no way we could eat them all and, never being a huge fan of baking pies, decided to make some crisp instead!

Apple and Oatmeal Crisp
Recipe Courtesy of Emeril LaGasse/Food Network


1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/2 pounds cooking apples, cored and cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces and at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine the water, 3/4 cup brown sugar, melted butter, 2 tablespoons of the flour, salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg, whisk until smooth. Place the apples in a 9
by 2-inch glass baking dish (10 cup) and pour the liquid sugar mixture over the apples. Mix well. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, remaining 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 1/2 cups flour, oatmeal, and butter. Using your fingers, work the mixture together until it resembles a coarse crumb-like mixture. Sprinkle the oatmeal topping over the top of the apple mixture. Bake for 1 hour, or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden.

Of course this could not be complete without some vanilla ice cream. Yum! :)

The Ultimate Stuffed Potatoes

I decided to make this recipe after picking up some chives at a local farm. I have to say the various flavors in this dish worked together beautifully! It was really delicious and is one of those dishes that is even better reheated the next day. The only thing I think I would change next time is to make the cheese sauce a little thinner. It was a little too "doughy" for me I think. So maybe less flour and more milk would be better?

The Ultimate Stuffed Potatoes
Recipe Courtesy of Tyler Florence/Food Network


4 medium-sized Idaho potatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
About 2 cups, plus more for topping, shredded sharp white Cheddar **I used regular cheddar
2 heads broccoli, florets, blanched in salty water
1/2 pound bacon, medium dice, cooked until crisp **I didn't use quite so much bacon...
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Begin by baking the potatoes, as this will take the longest. Place potatoes onto a baking sheet. Pierce with a fork, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Place into preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour.

While they are baking prepare the stuffing. Make a mornay sauce by combining the butter and flour over medium heat and then whisking in the milk. Fold in about 2 cups cheese and stir until melted. Once melted, remove from heat and fold in the cooked broccoli florets, crispy bacon bits, chopped chives and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When the potatoes are done make a cut across the top and squeeze it from the bottom so a small pouch opens up and the bottom is squared off. Spoon the filling over the top of the potato, sprinkle with cheese, season with pepper, to taste, and then pop in the oven for 2 more minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Stuffed Zucchini

My mother-in-law made stuffed zucchini from Recipe Zaar last week and I got to have some leftovers. It was so delicious, I thought I'd give it a try! If you use larger zucchini than called for, make sure you scoop out most of the middle so that the zucchini cooks all the way through. Overall, I think this was a hit!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Improvisational Pasta

One of my go-to cooking techniques when I don't have anything planned is to throw together whatever I have with a bunch of pasta! Here are the results of Tuesday night's experiment.

Chicken, Eggplant, and Basil Spaghetti

Ingredients**Note: All are estimated!!

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 1/2 lb boneless chicken tender
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • large handful basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (fresh would be great! I just didn't have any)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add spaghetti with a couple pinches of salt. Cook until al dente and drain.
Coat the chicken strips in the egg and then the flour and place in a large skillet, coated with a little olive oil. After about 5 minutes, turn the strips over. Cook another 3-4 minutes until they are done. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Sautee eggplant and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Let simmer until some of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened a bit (about 7 or 8 minutes). Meanwhile, chop the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Add spaghetti, chicken, basil leaves and mozzarella to the pan. Toss and serve!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Portobello Alfredo Manicotti

This is a recipe I received from a college friend. As with many improvised recipes, the amounts he gave me for ingredients were not exact. I have listed what I used to make this particular batch. Sorry about the poor picture quality. Hopefully I'll be improving my technique as this blog continues!

Portobello Alfredo Manicotti
Recipe courtesy of Josh Thompson

  • Mushrooms **I used 2 portobello caps and a small package of button mushrooms
  • 1 small container ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated asiago cheese
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce
  • 1 package of Manicotti - cooked most of the way, then lightly covered in olive oil to prevent sticking
  • 1-2 cups olive oil
  • Italian herbs/seasonings **I used about a cup of chopped fresh basil, a handful of chopped fresh parsley, finely chopped garlic, a little salt, and black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop up the mushrooms, then sautée them in olive oil. After they are cooked, put them in the food processor until they are mushy. In a mixing bowl, combine mushrooms, ricotta cheese, asiago cheese, and seasonings. Using a gallon-size plastic freezer bag with a hole cut in the corner, squeeze the mixture into the manicotti shells and place in a baking dish, greased with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Cover pasta with alfredo sauce and sprinkle on the remaining cheese and additional seasoning as desired. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the pasta is fully cooked and the sauce is bubbling. **I topped off each dish with some additional chopped basil.

I served this dish with a mixed garden salad and Bruschetta. It was a bit of a challenge to juggle all of the equipment involved with my limited counter space, but I was really pleased with how it came out!

Monday, August 13, 2007


Welcome to my first post! Tonight we had a friend over for dinner and I decided that it would be a great time to try some new recipes.

Ali's Amazing Bruschetta

Recipe courtesy of: All Recipes

2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread, cut into 1 inch slices
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, olive oil, oregano, basil, and parsley. Place bread on a baking sheet, scoop tomato mixture on and top with grated cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bread is browned. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

I changed a couple things about this recipe (as I typically do). I lightly toasted the sliced bread before putting on the tomato mixture. I think if your bread was stale, you wouldn't have to do this, but otherwise I was afraid it might not be as crunchy. Also, I didn't have any fresh oregano on hand, so I used dried and since I don't really like to measure, I guesstimated all of the amounts and added a lot more fresh basil than called for. Oh! I almost forgot! I really felt this needed garlic, so I went ahead and added some finely chopped garlic to the mixture.

Overall, the Bruschetta was a definite winner! Both my husband and my friend enjoyed it and I think it would be a great recipe to use for future company.