Sunday, August 7, 2016

Zucchini Ravioli


It's been almost a year since I've posted a new recipe.  Really, a YEAR?!  I'd like to say that I've been having a lot of good fun, traveling the world, started a new job, whatever....but honestly, life happened.  School started.  My kids got busy, and therefore, I got busy, and so...not only did I not have time cook, but I really had very little time to do anything.

This year has had ups and downs. Laughs and tears. And here I am a year older, renewing my joy and heading back into the kitchen.

If you're on Facebook, you know all about the new food videos that float all over, every day I drool on my keyboard due to the culinary treasures that appear before my eyes. One has planted itself in my brain, and would not be gone until I made it for myself.  Zucchini Ravioli. You've seen the video.  You've drooled on YOUR keyboard, too. I know you have. Don't even bother lying to me.

As I began prepping meals to freeze for our vacation, I decided, I must try this concoction. I've made lasagna before, using zucchini as noodles, but never tried to use the zucchini as a wrapper. I investigated several different recipes and decided to make a conglomeration of them and make my own. This is what I came up with, I submit for your approval.

Zucchini Ravioli

2 large zucchini squash
1 15 oz container part-skim ricotta, or the equivalent of homemade ricotta
10 oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1/2 Cup shredded parmesan, divided
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
28 oz of your favorite pasta sauce (I like to use Pepino!)

Using a mandoline, slice zucchini into very thin strips.  Lay in single layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, spinach, 1/4 Cup of parmesan, 1/2 Cup mozzarella, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Mix well.

Prepare a 13 X 9" casserole dish by spraying with cooking spray and pouring about half the jar of pasta sauce in the bottom, spread to coat.

Lay two strips of zucchini down, in a cross pattern (one section will be shorter than the other).  Place a scoop of the zucchini mixture where the two strips of zucchini overlap.  Fold in shortest ends, and roll the rest of the way to create a little "square" package.  Place in prepared pan in a single layer.

Continue to make bundles until the pan is full.  Pour the rest of the sauce overtop the "raviolis".  Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese overtop.  Cover pan with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes - remove foil for the last five minutes.

Once removed from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes before serving.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Philly Steak Stroganoff

Well, it's been a while.  It's been summer, what can I say?  Between trying to soak up as much time at the pool, and still managing all of our summer activities, it's been quite a flurry of crazy in our house. It's hard for me to believe that we've already completed our first week of school for the new year, and we are embarking on our second.  My kids are real troopers, though, and are working hard to get done each day early enough to still hit the pool and make it to our evening activities.

I'm trying to recommit to my Trim Healthy Mama ways.  It's a great plan, but I've been a BAAAD BAAAD girl all summer, and my waistline has shown me just how bad.  I weighed myself this morning and I was horrified!

Well...they say to begin with "S" days, or "Satisfying" Days.  Well, let me just tell you, my dinner was definitely SATISFYING!

Philly Steak Stroganoff
1 1/2 - 2 lbs THIN sliced sirloin beef (I used the steak slices in our meat section NOT STEAKUMM!), cut into thin strips
10 oz Cremini Mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
Small Onion, diced
Small Green Pepper, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
2 Tsp Herb-Ox Beef Granules (not an on plan ingredient!  You can use beef broth, but changes consistency)
1/2 Cup dry red wine (not a sweet wine, I used a Shiraz/Malbec blend)
2 Cups Heavy Cream
Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

In a large wok heat about a tbs of olive oil on medium heat, sauté onions and peppers, after 3 minutes, add the mushrooms.  Continue to cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have cooked down.  Add beef granules and red wine.  Cook until the wine is reduced down by at least half.  Place veggie mixture in a bowl, return pan to medium heat.

Once pan has reheated, add another tablespoon of olive oil.  Add beef and sautè until no longer pink.  Add garlic.  Cook until the beef is cooked through and any liquid that formed has cooked off.

Add veggies (and the juice from sitting!) back into the pan with the beef and garlic.  Add heavy cream.  Stir around the pan and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes at a good simmer.

I served this over Zoodles (well, spiralized Zucchini noodles that I lightly sautéd in a hot pan with a scant tsp of olive oil).  Only cook them for a very short amount of time, you want them to be a bit soft but still have texture.

I'm very satisfied over here!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cappello's Gluten Free Pasta - A Review

I know, I know, where have I been, why haven't I been cooking?  I have been, just not much new, etc. Been doing a lot of Trim Healthy Mama recipes that are not my own.  Occasionally, I break from my diet and do something uncharacteristically decadent and naughty!  (For my THM friends, these should ONLY be used in an E setting, not an S setting at all!  LOL :) )

A while back, I read in a magazine about a new product line that specialized in fresh pasta.  Capello's.  There is Lasagna Sheets, Gnocchi and Fettuccini. Luckily, I live near a Wegman's and was able to purchase them fairly easily and not have to order them online.  They were very pricey, in store they were $8.99 - which to my amazement is cheaper than they are online!  And definitely not something I'm going to use on a daily basis, or even a weekly basis, maybe even not on a monthly basis.  An occasional treat, yep, sure will.

I made a lasagna for my husband and son, two of the pasta lovers in my house.  I believe my son eats some sort of pasta every day. I did the normal meat sauce/ricotta/mozzarella layering with the sheets and baked.  They were delicious, not gummy and wonderful.  I was able to make two regular lasagnas in bread pans.  I also had enough to make a vegetable lasagna in a bread pan.  This leads me to conclude that you'd be able to do a 9 X 13 pan fairly easily.  I also had a few small segments of sheets left that I used to make a few cannolini's out of with some left over vegetable filling.

All, very, very delicious.  I definitely recommend highly!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Black Bean Chili (THM E)

The weather in PA has been confusing to say the least.  Of course, this is rather normal around here.  One day it's hot, the next freezing.  And potholes are totally in bloom OUCH!  Our schedules are actually busier than normal and it's getting crazy.  Usually by Spring I'm ready to put away the crockpot and move on with fun spring menus.  This year, not so much.  Continuing to rely on the crockpot as I'm often out of the house during normal "dinner prep" hours...running kids to their evening activities.

Yesterday, I combined my recipe for black beans with some extra seasonings and some chicken and it turned out to be a very delicious black bean chili.  Will comment, I added ONE CUP of frozen organic non-gmo sweet corn.  I do corn is SERIOUS moderation, as in, 1 meal every couple of months as it's not purely on THM plan.  For the non-THMer, feel free to add more if you see fit.  Also, I love Tastefully Simple products, Onion Onion, Garlic Garlic and Seasoned Salt are my go-to products.  Worth every penny.  I'm listing in the recipe just as dried minced onion/garlic and seasoned salt, but do yourselves a favor and check into Tastefully Simple, you won't regret it!

Black Bean Chili (THM E)
1 1/2 lbs ground chicken breast*
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast - cubed*
2 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 Cup frozen corn
1 Tbs dried minced onion
1 tsp dried minced garlic
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 - 2 Tbs Ground Cumin (to your preference)
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (or to your heat preference)
Salt to taste

*you can use all ground chicken (increase to 2 lbs) or use 2 lbs of cubed boneless skinless chicken breast

Layer all ingredients into a 5 to 6 quart crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours - adjust seasonings to your preference.

I liked served with 0% greek yogurt and a tiny sprinkling of 2% Cheese (small enough that you remain in an E setting).


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (THM E)

Where've I been?  Here.  Buried under mountains of laundry, loads of dust and piles of paperwork.  Life has been a little crazy.  Three homeschooling kids, with lots of activities, I barely have time to breathe, let alone cook.

Newfound desire to cook more often, and Trim Healthy Mama are inspiring me.  Tonight, we're having stuffed peppers.  Usually, you use beef, and rice, and all sorts of things that just are not, well, healthy.  Definitely warm and comforting, but...not good for a waistline you're trying to decrease.

Hubby & I sketched out a menu for the week this week, based on our schedule, and the kids' schedules.  Tonight's meal must be a crock-pot meal, or it will not be done at all.  One kid at classes, taking two others on a field trip, then rushing home to take MIL to a doctors appointment means that I have to have it in the crockpot before I leave for the field trip.

We decided on Stuffed Peppers.  I'm making it THM-friendly so I don't have to be off-plan for dinner! :)  Patting self on back.

Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

4 medium-sized Peppers (I used a combination of Green, Orange & Red), cut in half and seeded
1 1/2 lbs. of Ground Chicken Breast
1 1/2 Cups COOKED Tri-Color Quinoa (I like Ancient Grains Brand)
2 Tbs. Dried Minced Onion, divided
2 tsp. Dried Minced Garlic, divided
1 tsp. Seasoned Salt, divided
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (make sure there's no sugar in there!!!)

In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken breast, cooked quinoa, 1 Tbs minced onion, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp season salt and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning.  Mix well to combine ingredients.

Place a scoop of the chicken mixture into each of the halves of pepper - I like to overstuff a little bit - I know, I know, I shouldn't....but I mound it in there and create a dome on top!

Pour about 1 cup of the crushed tomatoes in the bottom of a 5 to 6 quart crockpot.  Place as many peppers in one layer as you can, cover each tomato with a little sauce, add the rest of the peppers.  Pour the remaining tomato sauce over all of it.  Sprinkle in the remaining 1 Tbs minced onion, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp season salt and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning.

Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Enjoy!!!!

*sorry no picture - my family DEVOURED it too quickly!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Baked Ziti With Homemade Ricotta

I was feeling rather domestic this morning.  I always find when I'm short on time, the only thing I really WANT to do is cooking.  I know, that sounds counterintuitive, but cooking and baking relax me.  Help me focus on something other than my worries.  I've always loved it.

Anyway, last week I bought just a little too much milk, combined with the fact that my kids did not like the choices of cereals in the cabinet meant that there was WAY too much milk in my fridge this morning - all of it about to go bad!  I was able to salvage a half gallon to make ricotta cheese.  A task I've never done before, but seemed easy enough.  And the guilt over wasting milk when there are children in our community who would love that milk forced me to give it a go!

I'm glad I did.  Followed the recipe here.  Yummy.  Easy.

I turned it into a Baked Ziti for dinner tonight.  Can't wait.

Baked Ziti with Homemade Ricotta

1 recipe of homemade ricotta (or about 15 oz of pre made ricotta)
1 egg
1 8 oz box of your favorite GF pasta (I used Ancient Grains large Penne)
1 lb ground meat (I used Hatfield ground pork)
1 28 oz Can jarred tomato sauce (use your favorite that is GF) - I used Aldi's Simply Nature
2 Cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Prepare Ricotta.

Mix ricotta with 1 egg.

Prepare pasta, drain and rinse.

Brown ground meat, add jarred tomato sauce.  Set aside.

Return drained pasta to pot.  Add sauce, ricotta and 1 1/2 Cups of the shredded cheese.  Mix well and pour into a 2 quart baking dish.

Top with remaining Cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Custard Cups

Happy National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day!  Seriously, folks, I can't even MAKE this stuff up to justify my baking bug.  I used to HATE pumpkin, but as I've aged, I've grown to love it, even crave it.  I'm still pretty picky about the things I eat with pumpkin.  I don't do pumpkin spice lattes (mostly because I don't do coffee...blech!), I don't do pumpkin flavored chocolate (icky!)...but I do do pumpkin cake.  Pumpkin cheesecake seemed like the perfect dessert.

Since following THM, I've been trying to figure out a good pumpkin recipe that I can crave.  As my usual, I can't just find a recipe and follow it to a "T", I have to take several and make a conglomeration that fits MY needs (and, well, let's be honest, what I have in my house!  HA HA HA!).

Here's what I came up with and I hope you like them as much as I do.  Creamy fall perfection. :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Custard Cups (THM S)

1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup Canned Pure Pumpkin
4 oz 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream (or half and half or almond milk)
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/8 Cup + 1 Tbs Truvia (or your favorite sweetener equivalent)

Mix all ingredients in the blender.  Pour evenly into 4 4 oz greased Mason jars (or equivalent ramekins).  Bake in a 325 oven for 25 mins.  I placed mine in a water bath (using a square cake pan, I placed the mason jars in the pan and poured hot water about half way up the jars - this is referred to a bain-marie).

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the bain-marie for about 10 minutes.  Carefully remove jars and dry off the bottoms and allow to cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate for two hours or overnight (if you can wait THAT long, seriously!).  Top with a small squirt of Light Whipped Cream (like Redi-whip).  Enjoy!