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.