Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

I love pumpkin ravioli but who has time or energy to make that, get all the flavor with none of the work with this baked ziti dish.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

1 16 0z package of ziti or other pasta cooked and drained

2 c pumpkin puree

2 c ricotta cheese

1/4 c  shredded parmesan cheese

1 T honey

1 egg

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1 T chopped fresh sage

1 T butter

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese

While pasta is cooking, mix pumpkin, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, honey, egg, nutmeg and sage in a bowl. When pasta is done drain and return to pot, add butter and stir over low heat until melted. Add pumpkin/cheese mixture and stir until evenly mixed. Stir in salt and pepper. Add to a large baking pan and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Bake for 20 min at 325 or until cheese is melted.

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

 

Baked Pumpkin and Sage Ziti

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Mexican Corn Salad

Mexican Corn Salad

A smokey, sweet, fresh and zesty side to go with steaks or grilled chicken.

Mexican Corn Salad

5 ears of fresh corn on the cob,husks and silk removed

1 T olive oil

1/4 c crema ( a mexican sour cream found in the dairy section) or 3 T sour cream and 1 T mayo

1/4 t smoked paprika

zest of 1 lime

juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup crumbled Queso Fresco ( mexican crumbling cheese) you could substitute Parmesan or Feta but use less as they are stronger cheeses

1 T chopped parsley or cilantro

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 Drizzle olive oil over corn and rub in ensuring all sides are coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. roast for about 20 minutes or until corn starts to char.

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Let corn cool so you are able to handle it and remove niblets from cob with a sharp knife. Mix together with remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

* you could grill the corn as well, that was my intention before it started pouring down rain.

Parmesan and Cauliflower “Risotto”

Parmesan and Cauliflower "Risotto"

 

My husband is back on the low carb diet so I am back to being creative with cauliflower. This hand mashed cauliflower has the same texture and flavors of a risotto without the rice and carbs. I don’t even think my kids noticed the difference.

Parmesan and Cauliflower “Risotto”

1 head cauliflower cut into florets

1/2 c ricotta cheese

3 T- 1/4 c cream

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

juice of 1/2 lemon ( about 2 T)

salt and pepper

 

Steam or cook cauliflower until fork tender. Drain excess water, Add to a med sized pot and hand mash with a potato masher. Add ricotta, lemon juice, cream (start with 3 T and add more if needed) stir in Parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. Heat over low until heated through.

Parmesan and Cauliflower "Risotto"

 

Here is a close up of the texture. If you prefer a puree of cauliflower instead just add to a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.

Parmesan and Cauliflower "Risotto"

The Best Broccoli

The Best Broccoli: Lemon, Olive OIl and Parmesan

Sides can be boring, this one isn’t. Perk up your broccoli with this easy recipe but be careful it might steal the show.

Broccoli with Lemon, Olive Oil and Parmesan

1 head of broccoli, cut into florets

1-2 t olive oil

1 T lemon juice

1/4 c shredded or shaved parmesan cheese

1/4 t salt

Steam broccoli until crisp tender. I used a microwave steam bag this time, but any method with work, just don’t over cook it. Toss with oil, lemon juice, parmesan and salt. Serve.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

This is a yummy side dish or a meatless main meal, would also be a lovely side for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

1 package orzo pasta cooked and drained

I cup chopped eggplant

I cup chopped and peeled acorn or butternut squash

1/2 cup carrots chopped

1/2 cup chopped bell peppers, I used yellow and red

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 c chopped onion

2T olive oil

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Toss all chopped vegetables with 1 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and put into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.

Add vegetables to a large bowl and add in cooked and drained pasta, 1 T olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Serve.

*Use what you have on hand this is a great way to use up leftover vegetables, be creative.

Pepperoni and Cheese Stuffed Shells

 

Add a little zip to your stuffed shells recipe with pepperoni and arugula.

Pepperoni and Cheese Stuffed Shells

12 oz box of large shell shaped pasta

2 lb container of ricotta cheese

2 eggs

2 cups chopped pepperoni

3 c grated mozzarella cheese

1/4 c chopped arugula

1 T lemon juice

1 t lemon zest

2 T chopped basil

1 t crushed red pepper

1 t salt

1/2 t ground black pepper

1 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce

In a large pot boil shells until done, drain and rinse with cold water. Meanwhile prepare filling in a large mixing bowl. Add ricotta cheese, eggs, 1 cup pepperoni, arugula, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, 1 cup parmesan cheese and 1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, stir until combined.

Pre heat oven to 350. Pour about 1/2 c of tomato sauce onto the bottom of a large glass casserole pan to prevent shells from sticking. Use a heaping tablespoon to stuff each past shell with cheese mixture. Line them up in your casserole pan.

Top with tomato sauce and remaining pepperoni, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

 

Bake for about 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and serve. Top with chopped basil and arugula if desired.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Pesto

I don’t know what it is about Fall, but this time of year makes me go right for the comfort foods and classic combinations I grew up with. As I looked at my menu board for the week I thought this could have been one my mom had when I was a child. Last night’s dinner was grilled cheese and tomato soup. I made the soup in the crock pot so it was done and ready for whenever my family decided to make their appearance for dinner, and the bonus is you get to smell its deliciousness all day.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Pesto

1 28 oz can of peeled whole tomatoes

1 20 oz can of petite diced tomatoes

1 1/2 c vegetable stock (chicken would work too)

1 T italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 t salt

1/4 c brown sugar

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1 c cream

2 T butter

For Pesto

1/2 c  fresh basil

1/4 c parmesan cheese

1/4 c pine nuts

1 large clove of garlic

1/4 c olive oil

Add tomatoes, stock, Italian seasoning, pepper, salt, sugar, onion and garlic to a large slow cooker/ crock pot. turn on high and cover. Cook for one hour and then turn to low. Cook for 2-3 more hours or until tomatoes and onions have completely softened. Add cream and butter and use an immersion blender to puree. You could also use a regular blender or use a wooden spoon to mash. Place on warm until ready to serve. Taste for salt and sugar add more if desired.

Meanwhile place basil, parmesan, garlic and pine nuts into a food processor, pulse until smooth and then slowly add olive oil while processor is on until pesto is the desired consistency.

Serve soup with a drizzle of pesto over the top.

Chicken with Creamy Corn and Basil Sauce

My kids love goopy, buttery, Alfredo sauces. They are fine every once in a while, but pretty fattening and lack any sort of vegetable or seasonal ingredient. I put this dish together using fresh summer corn and basil from the garden. It is  a lighter summer version of a white sauce with a hint of sweetness and no butter or cream.

2 ears of corn, kernels removed with a knife (or about 3 cups corn frozen of canned)

1/2 one lemon juiced

1/2 c milk

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

2 oz cream cheese

1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese

1 t minced garlic

1.5 lbs chicken breast ( I cut mine in to bite sized pieces but you could use whole breasts)

1T oil

4 T chopped basil

Remove kernels from cob if using fresh corn.

add kernels, lemon juice, and milk to a food processor, pulse until finely chopped. Add milk salt pepper and cheeses, pulse until mixture is well combined.

Set aside and heat a large skillet over med high heat. Add oil. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. add to pan. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Add corn and cheese mixture to pan, simmer for about 5 min over low

Stir in fresh basil and serve.

Serve over, Rice, Noodles or Pasta. Sprinkle with grated parmesan if desired.

Fettuccine with Bacon Tomato and Arugula

This hearty pasta dish is an easy meal to make on a busy week night.

Fettuccine with Bacon Tomato and Arugula

6 slices of bacon chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 small yellow onion chopped

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 c half and half or cream

1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese (more for serving if desired)

1 c arugula

16 oz cooked fettuccine or other pasta

in a large pan cook bacon over med high heat for 3 minutes, add garlic and onion and cook until bacon is crisp about 3 more minutes.( Surprisingly, I did not need to drain any bacon fat at this point but I know some bacon can be fatter than others, if you find that there is a fair amount of grease in the pan, strain it out before adding the rest of the ingredients) Add tomatoes, 1 T vinegar and stir, getting all the crispy bits from the bottom of the pan,

Turn heat to low cook until tomatoes glisten and have a slight wrinkle on the skin, about 2 minutes. Add half and half or cream, stir and add parmesan, heat through. Remove from heat add arugula and remaining 1 T vinegar. Toss together and serve. Top with more parmesan if desired.

Beer Makes it Better: Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Beer makes everything better and that holds true in this recipe. Give your mac and cheese new life and depth of flavor with this little twist on a classic.

Beer Macaroni and Cheese

1 lb elbow macaroni cooked and drained

4 T butter

1 tsp chopped garlic

1/4 c flour

2 t hot sauce

1/2 c beer

4 c milk

1 t smoked paprika

3 cups of shredded cheese

1/2 t pepper

1 t salt

Melt butter over low heat in a large oven safe pan, add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add flour and stir, cook 2-3 minutes over low heat. Add beer, paprika and hot sauce. cook 1 minute. Will become a thick paste like consistency.

Slowly add milk and hot sauce while whisking, bring up temperature to almost boiling and heat until thickened (so it coats a spoon). Add salt and pepper.

Whisk in cheese. I used Sharp Cheddar, Parmesan and Monterey Jack. This is a good recipe to clean out the cheese drawer in the fridge, try your favorite combo, the good thing is beer goes with all types of cheese.

Add Macaroni to pan, stir until macaroni is evenly coated.

Place in a 300 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken and crust will form on top, add grated cheese and herbs if desired.

Serve as a main dish or as a side to your favorite meal, like Raspberry Chipotle Pork Chops