October 20, 2011

Week 51 Notes

My post before this recent one was about how I'm on "maternity leave" from blogging. I'm still cooking but didn't want to worry about getting the recipes typed up and posted. Well...the baby's due date has come and (almost) gone, so I found time to type up another week. Then I'm on maternity leave. :) Enjoy!

Week 51, Recipe 1: Baked Pasta with Veggies

Not a great pic but this was yummy!

  • Modified from Cooking Light
  • I doubled the recipe below to make a large 13x9 inch pan.
  • Make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze. I took mine out of the fridge and cooked it covered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and then uncovered for about 5 minutes. If freezing, thaw in fridge overnight or put in your oven frozen in the morning and set the oven timer.
  • 4 ounces uncooked ziti or penne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 c. chopped zucchini and/or yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped tomato (used diced canned tomatoes if you don't have fresh)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. Preheat oven to 400°.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil to pan. Satue squash and onion for 5 minutes then add tomato and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
4. Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Week 51, Recipe 2: Slow-cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Photo by National Pork Board

  • Recipe modfified from Taste of Home, original recipe from National Pork Board 2011
  • Yum! This pork is good plain as well as mixed with your favorite BBQ sauce.
  • Original recipe did not call for step 1 but I think browning the meat before putting in the slow-cooker brings out the flavor much more.

  • 1 5-pound boneless pork butt (shoulder)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Soft sandwich buns or rolls
  • Favorite BBQ sauce
  • Red onion and dill pickle slices, to serve
1. Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper and brown on all sides over medium high heat in a large pot. Let cool slightly on a cutting board.

2. Combine all the seasonings in a small bowl and rub evenly over roast. Place meat in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add water. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours or until pork is very tender.
3. Remove pork to a large cutting board or platter and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Pull, slice or chop to serve. Either return to slow cooker and mix with BBQ sauce or serve plain with BBQ sauce.
4. Top buns/rolls with pork, sliced onion and pickles.

Week 51, Recipe 3: Stuffed Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheddar

  • These were easy to make and very filling. They also freeze well - assemble as directed (through step 4, cook completely then wrap in plastic wrap before freezing). Thaw in fridge and then bake as directed below or until hot.
  • Recipe modified from The Best Freezer Cookbook
  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 3 c. chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/2 c. sour cream or buttermilk
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/3 c. shredded Cheddar or Colby-Jack cheese
  • Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
1. Bake potatoes in microwave 6 minutes, turning over halfway through. Bake in oven at 425 for about 15 minutes or until a skewer slides easily through them. Remove and let cool slightly.
2. While potatoes cook, cook or steam broccoli in a saucepan until just crisp tender (about 1-2 minutes). Drain well.
3. Cut a thin slice from the tops of warm potatoes. Scoop out potato leaving a 1/4-inch shell, being careful not to tear the skins.
4. In a large bowl, mash potato with a potato masher or fork. Beat in enough sour cream or butter milk until smooth. Add broccoli, onions and 1 c. cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne to taste.
5. Spoon filling into potato shells, pressing filling into shell and mounding the tops, Arrange in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Week 51, Recipe 4: Slow-Cooker Mexican Chicken & Veggie Soup

  • Recipe modified from All You.
  • This was really good. I added quite a bit more spices than the original recipes and some chopped tomatoes with green chilies instead of so much salsa.
  • Double the recipe - you'll want leftovers!
  • Use thighs and a breast as called for. I think the thighs are so much more flavorful!
  • 2 baking potatoes (about 1 1/2 lb.), peeled and cut into chunks (3 1/3 cups)
  • 1 (10 oz.) package frozen sweet corn
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks (1 cup)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • About 6-8 oz of your favorite salsa
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, halved (about 1 lb.)
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 10.5 oz.)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 (6 inch) fresh corn tortillas, cut into strips, placed on a greased baking tray and broiled for 3 minutes, turning after 2 (or do what I did and just use store-bought tortilla chips)
  • Shredded cheese for topping
1. Place potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion and garlic in slow cooker. Stir in salsa, tomatoes, salt, cumin, chile powder and pepper.
2. Distribute chicken evenly on top of vegetables and pour chicken broth over chicken. Cover slow cooker and cook stew on high for 4 hours.
3. Transfer chicken to a plate and shred with two forks into bite-size chunks; return to slow cooker.
4. Top each bowl with tortilla strips or chips and shredded cheese.

Week 51, Recipe 5: Mexican Lasagna

Photo by Taste of Home 

  • A recipe that comes together quick and would freeze well too. I made ours the night before and left in fridge until ready to cook. It's a great lasagna recipe because you can use regular lasagna noodles without cooking them first.
  • Recipe modified from Taste of Home
  •  1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans (I like the spicy jalapeno kind because it adds flavor but isn't too spicy)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies or 2 fresh Anaheim chilies, chopped
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning (or make your own)
  • About 1 jar (16 oz) salsa + 2 tablespoons
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 12 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained (optional, my fam is not a fan so we did without)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped (optional)
1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat (add fresh peppers if using once beef is starting to brown) until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, chilies, taco seasoning and 2 tbsp salsa.
2. In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, layer a third of the noodles and meat mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers twice (ending with cheese).
3. Combine mild salsa and water; pour over top. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour or until heated through.
4. Top with sour cream, olives (if desired), onions, tomatoes and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes longer. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting. Serve with chopped lettuce on the side and guacamole or chopped avocado.