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Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

On The Docket– Week of November 26th

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The name of the game this week: how to clear out the leftovers from a 19 pound turkey and all the trimmings.  Why I made that much food for four people is beyond me.  Go big or go home, I guess.

Turkey Cranberry Walnut Salad:  I love chicken salad.  So, considering I have an obscene amount of leftover turkey, some leftover dried cranberries, and a stash of walnuts in the pantry, I think this will be a fantastic lunch option for the coming week.

Turkey Tetrazzini:  Please see above regarding the amount of turkey left over from Thanksgiving.  I’ve always liked turkey tetrazzini but I’ve never attempted to make it.  Here goes nothing.

Turkey Shepard’s Pie:  Let’s see:  I’ve got turkey, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and roasted pearl onions.  I think I can make a lovely shepard’s pie with these ingredients.

That should get me through the week without having turkey and all the trimmings every night until all the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone.


Best Homemade Mac n Cheese Ever!

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

When my mom’s family gathered in Minnesota for 4th of July, my aunt and I cooked dinner.  It was quite the challenge cooking for 25 people, but we managed to pull off quite the feast.  My aunt made macaroni and cheese, which was a big hit.  When I got home, I was inspired to try making my own mac n cheese.

I’ve tried a couple of different recipes for macaroni, but the following recipe is my favorite.  The original recipe calls for 16 ounces of colby cheese and 8 ounces of extra sharp cheddar, but I used 16 ounces of cheddar and 8 ounces of Monterrey Jack.  I wasn’t in the mood to grate cheese, so I just picked up what was already grated.  I was very pleased with the results.

Backed Macaroni and Cheese (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Best Cover and Bake Recipes)

1 pound elbow macaroni

6 TBSP unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, pressed through a garlic press

1 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

6 TBSP all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups chicken broth

3 1/2 cups milk

16 ounces Cheddar Cheese, grated

8 ounces Jack cheese, shredded

Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bring salted water to a boil, and cook the macaroni until al dente, about 6 minutes.  Drain the pasta and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the garlic, the dry mustard, and the cayenne.  Cook for about 30 seconts, until fragrant.  Add the flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the broth and milk.  Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often until the mixture is thickened and bubbling.  This should take about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese.  Mix until the cheese is completely  melted, and season with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until well combined.  Be sure to break up any clumps.  Pour the pasta into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.



Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

Friday, April 16th, 2010

I love lasagna, but my husband was a little hesitant when I suggested this recipe.  He has since decided this is one of his favorite lasagna recipes.

The original recipe called for fresh lasagna noodles and bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, but I used store bought noodles and boneless skinless chicken.  I cooked the noodles according to the package instructions, and I had enough noodles and filling for an 8×11 pan of lasagna.

Chicken, Mushroom, and Spinach Alfredo Lasagna (adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles)

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 lb chicken breasts

4 tbsp unsalted butter

8 oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 large shallots, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c flour

3 1/2 c milk

black pepper


1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

4 oz spinach, sliced into 1/4 in ribbons

1 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese

1 package lasagna noodles (regular, not “no boil noodles”)

Picture 013Heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Heat a small oven safe skillet over medium heat. (I used a Dutch oven).  Add the oil and chicken breasts.  Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on one side until browned, about 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken over, and move the pan to the oven.  Roast the chicken in the oven until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees.  (Since I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I also added a cup of chicken broth to the pan before placing it in the oven.)  Remove the chicken from the oven, and once the chicken has cooled, shred the chicken with your fingers or two forks.

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Decrease the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are slightly browned, about 7 minutes.  Add the shallots and cook for another 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

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Add the flour and stir frequently with a wooden spoon.  Cook for about a minute, until slightly thickened.

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Whisking constantly, add the milk slowly, and continue to to cook for about 7 minutes.  The sauce should thicken slightly.  Add salt, pepper, the  nutmeg, spinach and half of the Parmesan cheese.  Cook for about 3 minutes and add the chicken.  Remove from heat and adjust seasoning to taste.

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Spray an 8×11 baking pan with nonstick spray.  Spread 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Try to avoid large chunks of chicken.  Top with a layer of noodles (I used 3 noodles).  Continue to alternate sauce and noodles until you run out of noodles.  I was able to make five layers.  Top with the remaining sauce and the Parmesan cheese.

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Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.

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We ate this with a nice salad.  Enjoy!


Cincinnati Chili

Friday, January 8th, 2010

I once watched two of my co-workers nearly come to blows during a debate over what makes “Cincinnati Chili” Cincinnati Chili.  One- originally from Ohio- contended it’s the pasta.  The other- from Chicago and no stranger to Chili Mac- contended it’s the chocolate.

While I tend to agree with the Chicagoan on this one, it doesn’t really matter who is right.  Cincinnati Chili is delicious and has a very unique flavor.  The following recipe is delicious and pretty easy to make.

Cincinnati Chili Mac (adapted from The Best Cover and Bake Recipes from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated)

2 lbs. ground beef (I used 85 percent lean)

1 TBSP vegetable oil

3 medium onions, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 TBSP chili powder

1 TBSP cocoa powder (I happened to have Xocolatl powder, which is a mixture of cocoa, chilies and cinnamon)

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

4 c. chicken broth

2 TBSP cider vinegar

1 1/2 TBSP brown sugar

28 oz. tomato sauce (I used chunky tomato sauce)

2 c. water

1 lb. elbow macaroni

Heat a Dutch oven over medium low heat.  Add the ground beef.  Breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, cook the beef until it is no longer pink.

Food Blog 001Food Blog 003Remove the beef with a slotted spoon, and drain the beef in a colander.

Once the beef is removed from the Dutch oven, add the oil.  Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently until the onions soften and start to brown.  Add the garlic, chili powder, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, and allspice.

Food Blog 004Cook the onion and spice mixture over medium heat for about a minute.  Add the broth, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato sauce, water, and beef.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook covered for an hour.

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After an hour, add the macaroni.  Mix the macaroni in thoroughly, and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes.  Make sure to stir the chili occasionally to cook the pasta evenly.  The pasta should be tender after 20 minutes.

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I served this with some grated cheddar cheese and some chopped green onions.


Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

I tried this recipe for the first time over the summer, and although it is definitely a bit summery for a January dinner, I thought this orzo dish would be a good accompniament for Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts.  I was not disappointed.

This recipe calls for cherry tomatoes, but I’ve used grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and a combination thereof.  This time around, I used 1 container of cherry tomatoes, and 1 container of grape tomatoes that I hadn’t used yet.

Adapted from Serious Eats, Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes , Capers and Lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. package of orzo
2 c. chicken stock + 2 c. water
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 c. capers, drained
3 TBSP pine nuts
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 TBSP lemon zest
Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Add the tomatoes and garlic.  Cook until the tomatoes are soft, about 4 minutes.

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Bring the water and chicken stock to a boil.  Add the orzo.  Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and keep covered for another 3 minutes.  My orzo was cooked, but a little watery, so I drained the remaining liquid.

Mix the orzo, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

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I usually serve this with chicken, but I’ve also added it to salads or served it with grilled shrimp in the summer.