Sunday, November 30, 2008

Got leftover mashed potatoes? How about Potato Pie!

I've been holding onto this recipe for a long time so I actually can't remember at all where I got it from so if it's yours, let me know and I'll give you the credit. It's a great way to use those leftover mashed potatoes AND make a weeknight dinner ahead.

1 unbaked pie shell (I use Pillsbury)
2 cups 1% milk cottage cheese
2 eggs
2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (I omitted)
1/2 cup scallions (I omitted)
1/2 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese

Beat the cottage cheese until smooth. Add in the next 6 ingredients and beat in again until smooth. Stir in the scallions. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake at 400 for 45-50 minutes.

Walnut Pesto

I bought basil at the store today with the intent on making a pesto however, I forgot the pine nuts. Not to worry! Walnut to the rescue. I found this recipe on and voila. Pesto is now in the freezer for future use!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mac and Cheese

It was a comfort food kind of night so I called on my trusty Cooking Light mac and cheese recipe to hit the spot. I did make a few changes to suit the ingredients I had in the house. I do love this one, and so does my husband, we were both very satisfied tonight.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup (3 ounces) shredded guyere
2 ounces Alpine Lace American cheese
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded extra-sharp light cheddar cheese
6 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 3 cups uncooked)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1/3 cup panko

Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a large saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly. Add cheeses; cook 3 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in macaroni and salt.

Spoon mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Top with a little extra cheddar cheese and the panko. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Crockpot BBQ Meatballs

My mother in law makes a great BBQ meatball appetizer and I wanted to see if I could find a recipe that was similar. This one was really good but I still think hers was better. I paired the meatballs with mac and cheese for dinner tonight as I was really craving comfort food.

2 lbs lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 envelopes onion soup mix
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 eggs

1 cup chopped onion
2 cans tomato paste (12 ounces total)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
12 oz. can beef broth

Combine meatball ingredients and mix well. Shape into meatballs and brown in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil. Drain on paper towels. Add all sauce ingredients to Crock Pot and stir well. Add meatballs and cook, covered, on low for 5 to 6 hours (high for 2 to 3).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dinner Tonight: Chicken and Turkey Marsala, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Zesty Broccoli Casserole

Tonight, my brother and sister in-laws came over for football and dinner. I had a lot of food in the house that I wanted to use before it went bad. I also had turkey cutlets and needed to find a use for them. I decided to try them with a marsala sauce and it came out great. I also made chicken cutlets so that everyone could have a choice. I used this recipe from a previous dinner.

Surprisingly, I've never made mashed potatoes. Yes, this is true. The reason is because we usually only eat them at holidays and I don't host a holiday that would call for mashed potatoes. But tonight I made them. I mashed up about 3 lbs of potates with some milk and shredded cheddar cheese. Luckily for me, I didn't over mash or add too much milk so these came out quite good. I served a side of zesty broccoli casserole to round out the meal as well and I think everyone really liked it and were happy and full.

Zesty Broccoli Casserole

Chicken Marsala

My Plate

Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip

I broke in my new stoneware today with a yummy dip for football day. Go Jets and Giants! My husband, brother and I had a lot of fun eating it. And I love my latest piece of cookware.

1 jar (12 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 package (10 oz) chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella
in a bowl, combine the artichokes, spinach, garlic, sour cream and mayo. Transfer to an oven-safe baking dish. Top with the mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fall Exchange Gift

Thank you Joelen! Your gift was awesome!!!! I so appreciate the thoughtfulness and all the wonderful things. This is a great idea and I was so excited to get it. The girls on the WC board are truly the greatest. I am hosting Christmas Eve and everything will come in handy. I've already used the spoon today.

Here's a pic of what was in my package. Love it all!

Homemade Gnocchi and Vodka Sauce

So today was the day for me to put my new potato ricer to use. I've wanted to make homemade gnocchi forever but it was too warm to have the oven on that long in the summer. Today was the perfect day. The weather outside was below freezing and I had a willing assistant, Emma. It was pretty easy. The time it takes to bake the potatoes and then let them cool really is what adds to the prep time. I admit I was nervous that they'd come out mushy but I was so happy when they didn't. The trick is definitely to remove them as soon as they rise to the surface of the water. The vodka sauce is an old tried and true... we love it and it never disappoints. I would definitely make these again and serve them to guests. It was a great experience and really made me happy we got them right. I got the recipe for the gnocchi from Lauren's blog, which happened to be a Cooking Light recipe which made me even happier.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies

I was in the mood to bake tonight and to use pumpkin so of course pumpkin cookies came to mind. However, I didn't love the regular chocolate chips I put in the last time I made these so I turned to white chocolate chips. Tons better! Now we have yummy cookies to give to family this weekend, and better yet, eat a few ourselves.

1/2 cup margarine
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate chips

Cream the margarine and sugar together with a hand mixer until light a fluffy.
Beat in the egg, pumpkin and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix together well. Fold in the chips.
Drop teaspoons of the cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet (I needed 3) and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes 3-1/2 to 4 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beer Cheese Bread

Having just finished up the newest Cooking Light issue, I really wanted to try their Beer Cheese Bread recipe. People all over my cooking board have been making it so I figured it was my turn to see what it was all about. The verdict: I liked it. Definitely a different taste but it really was like no bread I'd ever had before. It's tangy but not sour. The cheese gives it a more savory taste, balancing with the tang. I'd definitely make this for a Super Bowl party or some other gathering. The recipe I used can be found here. If you want an easy, tasty bread to make, this is it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stuffed Shells

Suprisingly enough, I have never made stuffed shells before. Dave and I were in the supermarket today and there was a sale on Barilla shells so I picked up a box for dinner tonight. It was a very basic stuffed shells recipe and I didn't even measure anything out but I will do my best to estimate it. These definitely hit the spot.

1 Box Shells, cooked al dente
1/2 large container of part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup parm cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
5 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 jar pasta sauce (or less depending on how much sauce you like)
1 TBSP oregano
1 TBSP dried basil

Cook the shells according to the directions on the box. Mix together the 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, parm, and ricotta cheese, spices, spinach and egg until well combined. Cover a 9x13 inch baking dish with some pasta sauce. Stuff each shell with the cheese filling until they are all filled. Top with the desired amount of pasta sauce and the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.


Emma and I made a pizza together this week. It was nothing too exciting but we really had a great time making it together. Emma layered the pepperoni on 1/2 the pie and we left the other side just cheese. It was a lot of fun and made for a very yummy dinner.

Goat Cheese and Chicken Rotini

I saw a recipe on A Year in the Kitchen and since I had goat cheese I needed to use, this made a great weeknight meal. We didn't have sausage so I subbed in some cooked cubed chicken breast. It was really delicious, thanks Ashlee!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I love a fire

If there is any reason I'm happy cold weather is coming, it's because it get to use my fireplace. There is something about it that makes me so happy. The coziness, the warmth, it's just nice.

Sweet Potato Chips

My stepdaughter and I were watching Giada one day and she made sweet potato and beet chips to send in a care package to her niece. Since then, Emma has been asking to make them. I took advantage of the the Linens N Things liquidation sales this weekend and finally purchased a mandolin slicer so there was really no excuse not to make these. We only used sweet potatoes and flavored them with regular sea salt because I didn't feel the need to get that complicated, plus I don't like beets. Emma and I had a great time and now she has a snack to take with her lunch tomorrow.

Egg Salad

Even though egg salad isn't really anything tough to make, I do love it but don't eat it very much. Today I had a craving for it for lunch and the craving won. So simple but so good. Sometimes food really doesn't have to be complicated.

5 eggs
2 TBSP light mayo
1 celery stalk, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

Makes 3 servings.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Double Chocolate Bundt Cake

I was in the mood tonight to bake. I don't normally bake so this was definitely out of the ordinary for me. But since my Dad's birthday is tomorrow, then I figured I could bring my creation along. I don't own cake pans, only a bundt pan so I am a little limited but I did find this recipe on Cooking Light's web site and it really sounded so good. I haven't tasted it yet but the batter was delicious and the house smells great so I can't imagine it's bad. The only change I made was that I added in 1/3 of a cup of butterscotch chips along with a 1/3 of the chocolate chips just because I love butterscotch!

October/November Recipe Exchange: Slow Cooker Chili

This installment of the recipe exchange featured Fall Favorites and I was assigned Slow Cooker Chili. My husband and I are a big fan of chili and I love to use my crockpot so this recipe was good for us. I did make a few changes based on what I had on hand and I marked that in red. So without further ado, here it is!

METHOD: Slow Cooker
TIME: Prep: 10 min. Cook: 6 hours
1 pound lean ground beef or 1.25 lbs. of ground turkey
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped, I used red pepper
1 can (15 ounces) fat-free vegetarian chili
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley I omitted as I didn't have any
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon minced chives
In a nonstick skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, onion, green pepper, chili, tomato sauce, chili powder, parsley, basil, cumin, garlic, oregano, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with cheese and chives before serving. Yield: 6 servings.