Recipe HIT – Corn, Tomato & Feta Salad

I threw this recipe together to bring to a weekend barbecue, and it was very well received!  It could not be easier to make…you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already!  It has a very fresh taste and is a nice alternative to traditional BBQ side dishes.

Corn, Tomato & Feta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 4 (15.2 oz.) cans of yellow corn
  • 2 containers of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 (4 oz.) packages of crumbled feta cheese
  • Garlic Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Tabasco, to taste (be careful!)

Directions:

  1. Pour the corn, cherry tomatoes, onion, and feta cheese into a large bowl and stir it up
  2. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, juice of 2 limes, and dried basil.  Stir it all together.
  3. Slowly add the garlic salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste.
  4. Once you get the flavor you want, mix it all up again, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight

Serves a LOT of people.

Corn Tomato Feta Picture

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Recipe HIT – Baked Penne with Italian Sausage & Peppers

Spaghetti Sunday was last night, and I blew my Husb’s mind with this dish.  It’s heaven in your mouth.

Baked Penne with Italian Sausage & Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of penne pasta (I like Barilla Plus)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 jar of Ragu sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet.  Add the garlic, onion, and red peppers.  Cook for a few minutes until the peppers become tender. Add the sausage and cook over medium high heat until the meat is evenly brown.  Drain fat.
  3. Pour in white wine and cook for a few minutes, stirring to deglaze the pan.
  4. Stir in Ragu, diced tomatoes and tomato paste.  Combine everything and add oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  Let it simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta (use the pot that you cooked the pasta in).
  6. Spread the pasta and sauce mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella on top.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Serve it and be prepared to blow some minds.

Serves 8.

baked penne picture

Recipe HIT – Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Shells

This was last week’s Spaghetti Sunday supper (8/4).  It was really good.  I adapted this from quite a few different recipes, only to realize that this is basically the Stuff Shells recipe that you’ll find on the back of any box of Jumbo Shells.  Oh well – sometimes those are the best recipes!  And this one was mighty tasty and earned positive reviews from the Husb, so who cares if it’s on the back of a box?!  Not me.  I liked this recipe because it’s hearty but surprisingly lighter than other stuffed shells recipes I’ve tried.  Probably because I lightened up some of the ingredients.  Anyway, make this, it’s good.

Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Shells

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cartons (15 oz. each) part-skim ricotta cheese (plus a bit more to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 cup light Mozzarella cheese (plus a bit more to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1.5 jars of Ragu sauce

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  While the pasta cooks, combine the egg (don’t forget to lightly beat it), ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, spinach, Parmesan, salt, oregano and pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Drain the shells and rinse them in cold water (prevents them from sticking to each other).
  4. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with Pam.
  5. Spoon the spinach/cheese mixture into each shell and place them into the greased baking dish.
  6. Pour spaghetti sauce over the shells.  Top with additional grated Parmesan and Mozzarella.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  8. Mangia! Mangia!

Serves 8.

picture stuffed shells

 

Image from foodnetwork.com

Recipe HIT – Chili

It may seem odd to people that I’d make chili in the summertime.  But, I love it and 1 pot will feed the Hubs and I for 3-4 days and it’s easy to bring to work for lunch.  Plus, my chili tastes pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.  I’ve made this before with ground turkey, and it’s equally delicious.  Make it now, thank me later.

Holly’s Chili (it’s fairly spicy – fyi)

chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, rough chop
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 jar of Ragu (traditional, flavored with meat)
  • 1 8-oz jar of salsa (I like Chi-Chi’s Medium)
  • 4 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 15-oz can of spicy chili beans (get non-spicy ones if you want)
  • 1 15-oz can of dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can of corn (I actually use 2 cans b/c I worship corn)
  • Tabasco, to taste (use caution)
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (use caution)

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, brown the beef with the onions until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are translucent.  Drain grease.
  2. Pour the meat/onions into a larger pot.  Add the tomato sauce, salsa, chili powder, black pepper, garlic salt, kidney beans, chili beans, and corn.  Mix well
  3. Slowly add in Tabasco and red pepper flakes – SLOWLY.  Get the chili to the spice level that floats your boat.
  4. Simmer on low for 1 hour.
  5. Eat for the next 3-4 days.

Recipe Hit – Spicy Sesame Noodles

Last weekend we had our traditional Spaghetti Sunday…with a twist.  I wanted to branch out from the typical Italian recipes I usually make for Sunday nights.  I decided to go with a recipe inspired by The Pioneer Woman (nothing but love for her).  It was GREAT!  I think this dish will become a staple in my recipe routine, because it’s absolutely delicious and it couldn’t be easier to make.  Next time, I think I’ll make a double batch because I have a feeling these noodles would be fantastic as a cold salad.  Give this one a whirl, folks!

Spicy Sesame Noodles (inspired by The Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of Barilla Plus Angel Hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot chili oil (check for this in the Asian section of your grocery store)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 whole green onions, sliced thin
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste (if necessary)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, hot chili oil and olive oil.
  3. Taste the sauce and add red pepper flakes, pepper and salt to taste.  As always, add the red pepper flakes gradually!
  4. Once you get the level of spiciness you like, pour the sauce over the warm noodles and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Sprinkle with green onions and serve with pride.

sesame noodles

Recipe adapted and image from www.thepioneerwoman.com 

Recipe HIT – Crock Pot Taco Meat

You guys. I’m so excited about this recipe.  It is SO easy, inexpensive, and really delicious! You can even make it as healthy as you want by subbing the beef for ground turkey or chicken.  And you can also choose healthy toppings if that floats your boat, 2% cheese, low-fat sour cream, etc.  You can serve this meat on a taco salad, in burritos, or on good old hard taco shells.  I went old school with hard taco shells.  I used 90/10 lean ground sirloin and low-fat sour cream.  I splurged with extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1 jar of salsa (I used a 16 oz. jar of Chi-Chi’s Medium Salsa)
  • Tabasco, to taste

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground beef in a frying pan
  2. Add 2/3 cup of water and taco seasoning packet. Mix well.
  3. Taste the beef to see if you want it spicier, then add Tabasco (just add a drop at a time, a little goes a long way!).
  4. Let simmer for about 5 minutes
  5. Put the beef in the Crock Pot
  6. Add the jar of salsa and mix well
  7. Cook on low for 4-6 hours
  8. Chow down

tacos2

Recipe HIT – Brookies – Life Changing.

Yesterday, I whipped up a delicious confection with a really cute name.  “Brookies” are a hybrid of a brownie and a cookie.  And they are life changing.  Make them, make them now, and be forever changed.

Brookies – Makes 3-4 dozen

brookies

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temp
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I used fresh ground sea salt and it was delish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate chips with butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly until smooth.

Mix eggs, vanilla and sugar in a mixing bowl. Combine thoroughly and set aside.

Add melted chocolate to the egg mixture. Slowly add in flour, salt and baking powder. Stir until it’s all combined.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter onto cookie sheet.  The batter is pretty thin and spreads out right away.  This is fine.  Cook for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely on baking sheets.

Chow down.