Monday, October 31, 2011

Recipes: Sausage Rigatoni

Prep and cook time about 60 minutes
Makes four to six servings
19.76 ounce package Mild Italian Sausage, grilled and coin sliced
2 pounds rigatoni
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 large red bell pepper, chunked
1 26 ounce jar pasta sauce
Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese for topping
Cook pasta and sausage according to package directions. Keep warm. Saute garlic in olive oil for 30 seconds. Add peppers and cook until tender. Combine sausage with pasta sauce and peppers. Heat until warm. Mix with pasta. Top with shredded cheese.
My notes:
This works well served with garlic toast and a small salad. It reheats great, so don't worry if there's leftovers. It also freezes well so you can make TV dinners. You can drop the pasta down to a pound if you like your pasta super saucy. I like mine a little on the drier side.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Recipes: Lemon Chicken and Noodles

Ready In: 60 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
1 bag frozen chicken tender strips, thawed
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
12 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 cup chicken broth
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 package wheat egg noodles
  1. Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with a tablespoon or two of butter.
  2. Mix flour and lemon pepper seasoning together on a plate. Coat chicken with flour mixture.
  3. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Cook chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through, browning both sides.
  4. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
  5. Add onion and cook until soft, 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Scrape up any drippings. Add lemon juice and boil until mixture is reduced by half.
  7. Remove from heat and add remaining butter.
  8. Return chicken to pan and heat through. Serve with egg noodles.
And now for my notes:
I have found that sauteing the chicken doesn't always work well for me. I put the chicken in, cook it about 5-8 minutes on one side, turn it and do the same on the other. I keep a lid on it while it's cooking so the chicken cooks entirely through, the breading stays on the chicken and not necessarily on the bottom of the pan and everyone is happy. Make sure when you add the chicken broth that you use the spoon and mix up your pan drippings into the sauce. It gives it extra flavor and makes the pan a lot easier to clean later. Giant Eagle sells frozen chicken breast tenders that work great for this recipe. I throw them in the microwave to mostly thaw them, bread them and toss them into the pan. Some of the bigger tenders I give a slice lengthwise, but otherwise they're pretty well ready to go and makes this an easy dinner on busy nights. If you don't want your sauce to break (separate the butter from the rest of the sauce), make sure you remove the sauce from the burner first. I don't know why this makes a difference but it does. I know from experience. This recipe gives one good sized meal to each person. When we're feeling extra hungry, that's when I whip out the homemade lemon cheesecake. Since I have a growing pre-teen boy, I double the recipe. It makes really good leftovers and reheats well.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Recipes: Quick Broccoli Cheese Soup

Prep and cook time about 30 minutes
Makes four cup and a half servings
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium leek, thin sliced
1 small shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons quick mixing flour
2 cups half and half
2 cups vegetable broth
1 head fresh broccoli florets (3-4 cups)
1 carrot, diced
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
precooked bacon slices
Melt butter in microwave safe casserole dish. Add leek and shallot and microwave on high 1 minute. Stir in flour and microwave 1 minute. Stir in half and half and microwave 1 minute. Add veggie broth, broccoli, and carrot, microwave 10 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted. Cover and microwave 2 minutes. Top with bacon and serve hot.
My notes:
This recipe originally came with a pasta and more, but I don't see why it couldn't be used with a casserole dish. We eat this with bread to dip in the soup. It's pretty filling. This doesn't really reheat all that great since it becomes watery. You're better off making it fresh more than once and since it really only takes half an hour, you should be good.

Never really gets easier

Story time since it's on my mind and I wanted to share and ask a little extra patience.  May 20th. Mary and I are at a local garden shop...