Friday, June 26, 2009

Chile-Beef Stuffed Zucchini

After seeing this recipe on Sweet Tea In Texas's blog, I starred it because
I knew I wanted to plant zucchini in the garden this year and would need some different ideas to use it. I'm shocked, but we are starting to get zucchini already! I picked the first one last night and made this recipe for a quick dinner. I also picked 2 small red tomatoes and used those as well.

Instead of the 1/2 cup jarred jalapenos that the recipe calls for, I picked a hot pepper from our garden. I forgot to check which plant it was from. We have THAT many different kinds of hot peppers, but I do have a garden key I created so I can look them up if I remember where I got it.

Overall I liked this recipe a lot, but I also made changes and it turned out a little dry - nothing a little fat free sour cream couldn't fix! Some of my changes were to add chili powder and a little bit of jarred salsa to help with the dryness (I should have used even more).

Source: Rachael Ray

2 Zucchini (halved lengthwise & seeded)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1 tsp cumin
salt & pepper
1 tomato, seeded & chopped
1/2 Cup jarred pickled jalapenos
1 bag of Mexican style shredded cheese.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Arrange the zucchini cut side up in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add 1/2 cup water to the dish, cover with foil and bake until the zucchini begins to soften, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the beef and cumin and cook, breaking the meat up, until just browned, about 4 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes and pickled jalapeƱos

Uncover the baking dish, pour off the water and season the zucchini with salt. Fill with the beef mixture and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chicken Florentine Pasta

Last night for dinner we had this baked pasta dish and it turned out really good! We don't eat much pasta, but I love it, so I was happy to get this one into the dinner plans this week. I followed the recipe below almost exactly, my changes are noted - I also sauteed some sliced mushrooms and threw those in. This made quite a lot of food! Really any veggies you like would be a great addition. I would make this again using broccoli and/or bell peppers.

Source: Cooking This and That

Makes 6-8 servings

12 ounces farfalle pasta (I had 1/2 box of shells to use up, so we used those)
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of basil, oregano, parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used 2 chicken breasts)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
kosher salt and coarse ground pepper, to taste
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (I forgot to get this, so I just chopped a fresh tomato)
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. (Or, use this method to make two separate dishes.)

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook pasta as directed, to al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-heat. Add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the chicken and herbs and red pepper flakes and cook until heated through. Remove from heat, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken mixture, Monterey Jack cheese, artichokes, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, half of the Parmesan, and cooked pasta.

Transfer to prepared baking dish(es). Bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. In small bowl, combine remaining Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over pasta and continue baking, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until golden.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Who doesn't love peanut butter and jelly? I've wanted to make these cookie bars for a while, and I am glad I finally did. But, get the milk ready - these are very stick-to-your-mouth, can't-talk-for-5-minutes, peanut buttery!

Overall I liked the recipe and would make them again, but with changes. I thought there was about twice as much peanut butter cookie dough as needed. As I pressed the dough into the 9x13, I was thinking these are going to be really thick cookie bars. So, I pressed about half of the dough into a 9x13 and then got out a muffin pan and easily made another 12 pb&j muffin bars. The only other change I would make is to use more jelly. Again, because I thought the cookie itself was more dry/hard to eat and extra jelly might have helped with that.

Source: Martha Stewart

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups strawberry jam, or other flavor
2/3 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with butter, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the parchment, and coat inside of pan with flour; set aside. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add eggs and peanut butter; beat until combined, about 2 minutes.

Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add to bowl of mixer on low speed; combine. Add vanilla. Transfer two-thirds of mixture to prepared pan; spread evenly with offset spatula. Using offset spatula, spread jam on top of peanut-butter mixture. Dollop remaining third of peanut-butter mixture on top of jam. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; cut into about thirty-six 1 1/2-by-2-inch pieces.
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