Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Portobello Pizzas

Continuing with the low-carb trend we seem to have going on...I made these last night and I'll definitely be making them again. They were fun and easy, hearty enough for my meat-loving husband, and can be altered in so many different ways. The mushrooms are a good serving vessel and provide texture rather than altering the flavor of the toppings. A vegetarian version would be fantastic with some grilled or sauteed eggplant in place of the sausage.

Portobello Pizzas
adapted from Rachael Ray

4 large portobello mushroom tops, stems removed and gills scraped
Extra-virign olive oil, for drizzling plus 1 tsp.
Salt and black pepper
3/4 lb. Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 Tbsp. half-and-half (fat free works just fine)
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

1. Preheat broiler. Drizzle olive oil liberally over the mushroom caps and season with salt and pepper. Broil 5 minutes on each side until tender.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add sausage; cook and crumble until browned. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook 3-4 minutes until tomatoes are softened. Reduce heat to low, add half-and-half and stir to combine, then fold in the basil. Remove from heat.

3. Fill the mushroom caps with the sausage mixture. Top with cheese and broil 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

My sister shared this recipe, and I decided to make these last night to go with grilled steaks since I wasn't really feeling the baked potatoes that everyone else was having. They were really good and everyone liked them...I think they would make a great and easy (and low-carb!) appetizer.

Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

4 Plum Tomatoes
1/2 cup of Mozzarella Cheese
2 Tbsp. of Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Fresh Basil, roughly chopped
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
Salt/Pepper to taste

1. Heat oven to 400*. Cut the tomatoes length-wise and scoop out the pulp into a small bowl. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet.

2. Combine the pulp with the remaining ingredients. Fill the tomatoes to the top with the mixture. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese appears to be melted (I broiled on high for the last 2-3 minutes to make the cheese extra bubbly).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cracker Candy

I tried these at Christmas time. Delight. I've not made this recipe yet, but I am excited to since they were awesome!!

40 single saltine cracker squares
1 c butter (real butter)
1 12 ounce pgk milk chocolate chips
1 c brown sugar

Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Lay crackers side by side on cookie sheet (should cover cookie sheet). Melt brown sugar and butter in heavy saucepan and bring to boil. Boil exactly 3 minutes (stir continually).

Spread over crackers evenly. Bake at 400 for exactly 5 minutes. Take out and let cool for just a minute, then sprinkle chips over the top. Allow chips to melt for a moment, then spread over entire area.
Put in refrigerator to harden. Take out and break into bite-size pieces

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Penne with Asparagus, Mushrooms and Italian Sausage

Adam: "I like this better than that other pasta you made with asparagus"

And there you have it.


12 oz. penne pasta
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1 - 14 oz. can tomato puree
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 lb. hot Italian sausage, cooked, crumbled into large pieces and drained
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Salt and pepper


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

2. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, then add the asparagus and cook 5 minutes more. Add the tomato puree, season with salt and pepper, and let simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and the Italian sausage and simmer 10 minutes more. Season again with salt and pepper, if desired.

3. Stir the mozzarella and the pasta into the sauce and heat through.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Asian Salmon

I really liked the marinade/sauce on this one, it was a nice way to prepare salmon. You can click the link below to see the original recipe; I'm posting here with my changes. If I were to make this again I would definitely make more marinade (and I even doubled it from the original recipe already) to have even more to pour over the rice.

Asian Salmon
adapted from


3/4 lb. salmon filets, with skin
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp. rice vinegar
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. minced onion
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 tsp. dried dill weed
2 cups water


1. Make several shallow slashes in the skinless side of the salmon filets. Place filets skin-side down in a glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, pepper, onion and ginger. Pour the liquid over the salmon, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium saucepan combine the rice, water and dill weed. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium low heat until rice is tender and water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

3. Remove cover from salmon, and bake in the marinating dish for 15 minutes. Change oven heat setting to low broil, and cook 5 minutes more to allow for some caramelization. Serve salmon over the rice, and pour sauce over.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tomato Sauce with onion and butter

No picture for this one. I wasn't even going to attempt it. I realized that I should probably stop taking pictures of my food until I a) Get better at it and more importantly, b) Get a really good camera. Not sure when either one of those things are going to we might be picture-free for a while.

Luckily though, there is an easy way around this - in this case, I'll just direct you to where I got the recipe from because I know the pictures there are a million times better than anything I could produce.

So, if you want to see what this looks like, head on over to Smitten Kitchen and I'll just thank her for during the work for me.

But on to this recipe...can I just say YUM! I was very intrigued by this recipe because of all the rave reviews, and yet it seemed too simple to be true! The title lists all the ingredients: tomatos, onion, butter. That's it. A perfect, 3 ingredient tomato sauce? Can it be?

I have to add my name to the list of believers (if you go to the Smitten Kitchen link, you'll see that there are over 500 comments on this recipe, and ALL are good) because this sauce was fantastic! I've never been a big fan of any sort of jarred spaghetti sauce, and so I'm glad I have discovered this little gem that I can use instead.

The end result is a sauce thats fresh and sweet, and the butter adds that little extra something that takes it up a notch. Oh, and don't just throw away that onion once you remove it - that thing tasted darn good too!

Last night I served it over plain spaghetti noodles with some cheesy garlic bread on the side, of course. I wish there were leftovers that I could be eating right now, but alas, this stuff was too good to last long!

Tomato Sauce with onion and butter


28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano are the recommended brand, and those are what I used. A little more pricey than the others, but apparently its worth it. I found them at my local Albertson's)
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste


1. Place tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon (I don't mind a slightly chunky sauce, so I didn't smash them up too much). Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste (I didn't add any) and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Garden Vegetable Soup

Its been cold and rainy and I really wanted something warm and yummy. I made this last night and we enjoyed it along with some grilled cheese sandwiches (courtesy of Adam).


2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white part only
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 (15 oz) can cut green beans, drained
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt and sweat, stirring often, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and potatoes and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the green beans, tomatoes with their juice, and kidney beans. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the vegetables are fork tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Monterey Spaghetti


6 oz. spaghetti, cut into 2" pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 (10 oz)package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms
1 (2.8 oz) can french fried onions


1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.

3. In a small bowl beat egg. Add Parmesan, sour cream, and garlic. Add spaghetti, Monterey Jack cheese, spinach, mushrooms and 1/2 the onions. Pour into greased 8x8 baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Top with remaining onions and bake 5 minutes more.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Tator Tot Casserole

Sometimes you just want something comforting and not necessarily healthy...and for us tator tot casserole usually does the trick. I make a few different variations but I like this one because even though its extra cheesy, all that broccoli makes up for it, right?

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Tator Tot Casserole

1 - 26 oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup nacho cheese sauce (I like Tostito's brand Salsa con Queso)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
6 cups ( 2 -12 oz. bags) frozen broccoli cuts
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 bag frozen tator tots


1. In a large pot, combine cream of chicken soup, queso, milk, hot sauce and spices over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer and add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese; continue stirring until melted. Add broccoli, stir to combine, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chicken.

2. Pour broccoli mixture into a greased 9x13 pan. Place tator tots in a single layer on top of the broccoli mixture (you probably will only use about 3/4 of the bag). Top with remaining 1 cup shredded cheddar. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

*Notes: I made this last night, and even with the salsa con queso, hot sauce and chili powder, it wasn't spicy at all. But I've made it before and it had a little kick, so feel free to adjust those items to taste. Also, this works just as well if you mix the tator tots in with the broccoli, but I like putting them on top because they get crisper and hold their shape better.


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