Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sausage & Pepper Baked Ziti

A few years ago, my sister-in-law and I got together to make some freezer meals.  We picked out recipes and shopped ahead of time, and then cooked away while our babies slept.  One of the recipes we made was this baked ziti, and it's actually the only one that I still make often today.

I love how healthy it is, and that it's a change-up from your every-day Italian baked ziti.  I really get sick of that, don't you?  This recipe was originally meant to make two casseroles, one to eat right away, and one to freeze for later.  It also says it makes 8 servings total, but I have found that each casserole feeds more like 5-6.  If you plan to freeze one for later, buy an aluminum 9x9 pan, and wrap it in foil after preparing, but before baking.  Cool in refrigerator, then freeze.  Transfer it from the freezer to refrigerator the night before you plan on eating it.

Sausage & Pepper Baked Ziti
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1 pound sweet and/or hot Italian or Turkey sausage links, casings removed
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed with press
2 large red, orange, or yellow peppers, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 jumbo onion, cut in half, then sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 pound sliced white mushrooms
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato puree or petite diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 pound whole wheat ziti or penne pasta
1-2 cups part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to box directions, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water
In deep 12-inch skillet, cook sausage on medium heat for 10 minutes, or until browned, breaking up as it cooks.  Transfer to small bowl and set aside.  Remove any drippings left in pan.

Preheat oven to 400*F.
Cook garlic, peppers, onion, and mushrooms, covered (stirring occasionally) for 10 minutes.  Remove lid and cook 8 minutes more, or until liquid is evaporated.  Stir in tomatoes and salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes.  Add sausage, cheese, and pasta into sauce.  If needed, add some of reserved pasta water.  Divide into two 2 1/2 quart baking dishes (I use an 8x8 pan), or one 9x13 if making just one pan. Sprinkle Pecorino or Parmesan over the top and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until top browns and sauce is bubbling.  Let stand ten minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Will you forgive me? I made you pumpkin pancakes!

So.  If you look at the date of the previous post, you will see that it was over a year ago.  A lot has happened since then.

This happened.

We also moved when he was only 10 days old.

My baby started Kindergarten.

I've probably tried at least 100 new recipes.

I am going to do this a little simpler this time around.  My goal is one recipe per week.  I'm not going to specify a day, or a time by which it needs to be posted.  I absolutely love trying recipes, taking pictures, and writing, but I put so much pressure on myself before that it stopped being fun.  And that's what this is for.  Just for fun.  So this is a new beginning, and I'm excited to be sharing recipes with you again.

It's September, and fall is in the air.  I LOVE fall.  I love the sunshine combined with the cool breeze.  I love having my windows open.  I love boots, skinny jeans, and sweaters.  I love coffee (even more than normal), and baking up lots of yummy treats to go with it.  My crockpot is getting a workout lately.  Of course, it goes without being said that I also love fall for PUMPKIN.  Pumpkin everything.

I started with pumpkin pancakes.  I made them for my girls one day for breakfast, and they inhaled them.  They each ate three.  I may have, as well.  They were wonderful, and I think I will probably make them again tomorrow :)

I'm happy to be up and rolling again.  I hope that you are too!

Pumpkin Pancakes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup milk*
6 Tbs pumpkin puree
2 Tbs melted butter
1 egg
2 Tbs pure maple syrup**
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  Gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix.  Lumps are good. 
Heat skillet over medium heat.  Melt a small amount of butter in the pan, then pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake into the pan.  Cook until golden brown, and dried around the edges. Flip, and continue cooking until golden.  Serve with butter and pure maple syrup.

Yield: 8-10.  Adapted from Martha Stewart.

* I use almond milk
** If you do not have maple syrup, you can add 2 Tbs sugar to  your dry ingredients.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Fruit Salad with Lemon and Mint

It’s hot this week.  Like 100 degrees hot.  Which means spending time in water (if you can handle the heat then), or spending in in air conditioning (if you can’t).  Either way, this salad needs to be on your menu.  Maybe even twice every day, it is simply that good.  The mint and lemon simple syrup adds an amazingly refreshing quality, and I am considering making it for every fruit salad I ever make in the future. 

You can definitely stray from the recipe here.  Add any fruit you want, although I think the watermelon needs to stay.  I also found that the syrup (for me) was enough for two salads.  You can decide what is enough for you!

 I liked the strength of the mint, but if you aren’t too sure, only steep one or two mint sprigs in the syrup, and skip the mint garnish.  My husband thought it was a bit strong, so I will skip the garnish next time I make it.

Which will probably be tonight.

Summer Fruit Salad with Lemon and Mint
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¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
3 sprigs fresh mint
1 lemon, zested
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash of salt
3 cup cubed watermelon
2 cups fresh blueberries
Chopped mint (optional), for garnish

Bring water and sugar to a simmer in small sauce pan.  Remove from heat, and add mint sprigs.  Cover and steep for 10 minutes.  Add lemon zest, juice, and dash of salt.  Toss with fruit, and let stand 15 minutes (I refrigerated it at this point). Top with chopped mint and serve.

Source: Food Network Magazine

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm Back...

I apologize for being gone so long!  We were camping for two weeks, and while I had planned to post during that time, my photos were not uploading properly, and, really, who wants a recipe without a photo??  I will have new recipes later this week, but for now, this is some of what we cooked while camping.

Cherry Cream Cheese Hobo Pies (at least that's what we always called them--is that offensive???)

Classic Pizza, probably my favorite.

Marshmallow and Reeses.  That was pretty good too!

Grilled Chicken & Avocado Pizza--there's a recipe coming for this one, it is one of my favorites!

 Of course we had LOTS of these...