Sunday, July 26, 2009

Joe's Amazing Pasta Sauce

When we first started co-kitchening, my husband Joe was never very happy on spaghetti nights. He ate it like the good soul he is, but I knew he wasn't a fan of tomato sauce from a jar. So one night midway through my first trimester, we decided to make pasta sauce from scratch. Lo and behold, my Italian husband can make an AMAZING from-scratch pasta sauce! Never again will I waver between Ragu and Prego - he's signed on for a kitchen job for life!!!
2 Tbsp. EVOO
1 green pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1.5 tsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1.5 pounds ground beef
3 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/8 cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute herbs, vegetables, and garlic in EVOO over medium heat. Add meat and brown. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, an additional 10-15 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Shrimp Enchiladas

When I was in college (WVU!!), there was this dive-y little Mexican place that had the most amazing chicken and cheese enchiladas. They had this fantastic, creamy, cheesy sauce that I have never again found anywhere. And ever since, most enchilada recipes I've tried have either been very heavy on the sour cream, or called for a red sauce. So I was thrilled to find this recipe.

My original source said to mix all of the cheese sauce into the shrimp mixture, but I chose instead to add only a little of the sauce and use the rest to top the enchiladas.

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup red pepper, diced

1/2 cup green pepper, diced

1/2 cup onion

¼ tsp. oregano

¼ tsp. salt

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 cup fat free half-and-half

2 tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack or Cheddar Jack cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 lb. salad shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup diced tomatoes with green chiles (or 1 small diced tomato)

6 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add flour, stirring to make a roux. Add oregano, salt, garlic powder, cayenne powder, black pepper, and half-and-half; blend well. Lower heat to medium and cook until slightly thickened. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted. Add sour cream and stir to blend. Set aside.

In a separate skillet, heat olive oil. Add peppers and onion and saute until crisp-tender. Add shrimp and saute until cooked through, then stir in tomatoes. Stir in 1/3 cup of the cheese sauce.

Spoon some of the shrimp mixture onto a tortilla. Roll up tightly and place in the baking dish, seam side down. Pour remaining cheese sauce on top. Bake for 10 minutes.

Makes 6 enchiladas.

Note: These are also fantastic with chicken!

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats, adapted from My Kitchen Cafe.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Penne with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

I admit it - I love the Cheesecake Factory. And while a lot of their food is good, I love their Fettuccine with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes - it's creamy and decadent. But I also know that it's not something that would be considered healthy. So I decided to make a version at home and lighten it up some. It turned out so well, this is definitely going in the regular rotation!
1 box penne pasta
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken broth or stock
1.5 cups fat free half and half
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), diced
2 gloves of garlic
1 tsp. sun-dried tomato oil
3/4 Parmesan cheese, plus extra to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook penne until al dente and set aside.

Melt butter over medium-high heat. When melted, whisk in flour to make a roux. Stir in chicken broth and half and half. Add garlic, tomato oil, and salt and pepper and whisk until combined. Reduce heat to medium and let sauce thicken (2-3 minutes), being careful not to let sauce boil.

While sauce is thickening, dice sun-dried tomatoes. When sauce has thickened, add diced tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Toss with pasta and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 servings

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

PB&J Muffins

So my husband is not a PB&J fan. Something about food getting stuck to the roof of his mouth. So he's never really enjoyed PB&J - until now. These were just gooey enough to be fantastic! The only major modifications I made to this recipe was to use reduced-fat peanut butter and spreadable fruit rather than jam or jelly. Have to cut back somew

Sorry about the not-so-hot picture. I'm not sure why it's so dark.

Cooking spray
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup reduced-fat peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
12 tsp. blackberry spreadable fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan cups with cooking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut peanut butter into flour mixture using a fork. It should be dry and crumbly.

In a separate bowl, combine egg and milk. Add to PB-flour mix, folding until moistened.

Place a spoonful of batter into muffin cup, filling approximately 1/4-1/3 of way. Top with teaspoon of spreadable fruit, followed by another spoonful of batter. Muffin cups should be about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Source: Recipezaar