Sunday, April 28, 2013

Asian Style Chicken Noodle Bowls

These chicken noodle bowls are loosely based on Pho, a dish my husband and I have been fortunate enough to enjoy at our friends' house. They do a traditional Vietnamese recipe with beef. The dish has a flavorful beef broth, topped with fresh aromatics and vegetables.
I decided to make this version for my husband who has been sick all weekend with a terrible cold. The ginger root provides a homeopathic element to the broth in hopes of speeding his recovery. A nice twist on a typical Chicken Noodle Soup.
Your family and guests will never think this meal comes from a slow cooker!

6 Chicken Thighs
2 Inches Ginger Root, Sliced Into 1/4-Inch Rings
3 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
6 Cups Cold Water
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 Pound Raw Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined
1 package (5.29 ounces) Bean Thread Noodles

Bean Sprouts
Sliced Button Mushrooms
Green Onions
Soy Sauce
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

1. In a large slow cooker, place the chicken, ginger, garlic, water, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Put the lid on the basin. Set to cook on HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
2. After the cooking time, carefully remove the thighs from the broth. (I use a handled strainer because the chicken will fall apart.) Place the cooked thighs on a plate and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the ginger root and garlic cloves from the broth.
3. While the chicken is cooling, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the bean thread noodles into the boiling water and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. Drain.
As the noodles cook, continue with the remainder of the preparation.
4. Use your hands to remove the skin and bones from the chicken. Discard. Pull the chicken into shredded pieces. Set aside.
5. Place the shrimp into the chicken broth still inside of the slow cooker basin. Allow to cook for 10 minutes.
6. To assemble the bowls, place desired amount of noodles into the bottom of a large bowl. Top with shredded chicken. Ladle the broth over the noodles and chicken, making sure to get a few shrimp. Top with bean sprouts, cilantro, mushrooms, and onions. Add soy sauce and Sriracha to desired saltiness and heat.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Peach Cobbler Muffins

Every year my husband and I harvest fresh peaches off of his parents' peach trees and can them to save until to the next harvesting season. We do not add anything to these wonderfully sweet peaches except hot water for preservation. Throughout the year, I make everything from Peaches and Cream Pound Cake, Peach Crumble, and Cobbler. This morning, though, I decided to use them in some fresh baked muffins.
Over the past few weeks, I have been experimenting with several muffin recipes that do not have oil or butter. Instead, I have been using ripe bananas to provide creaminess and extra nutrients. These muffins combine buttermilk, canned peaches, and oats for a moist, delightful Peach Cobbler Muffin.
I hope you enjoy!

2 Ripe Bananas, Peeled and Sliced
1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Quick Cook Oats
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Canned Peaches, Drained and Diced

Yield: 9 Large Muffins or 18 Regular Muffins

1. In a large mixer, cream bananas and sugars until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, combining well between each addition.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, soda, powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla.
3. Slowly incorporate 1/3 of the flour mixture into the banana and sugar, beating well. Stream in half of the milk mixture. Continue with another 1/3 of the flour, the remaining milk, and then the last of the flour.
4. Quickly blend the peaches into the batter.
5. Prepare a large muffin tin with cooking spray. Carefully spoon the batter into the tins, filling each half full.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and carefully remove from the baking tins with a butter knife.
8. Enjoy with a large glass of milk or a cup of coffee!

Note: If you make regular size muffins, you may need to adjust cooking time.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spicy Shrimp with Spinach and Farfalle

There are not a lot of words that can describe my pleasure with this meal. It combines a quick tomato pan sauce with shrimp, a touch of red pepper flakes, and spinach, all over a marvelous farfalle pasta. Easy, simple, quick, and delicious! Enough said.

1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
2 Thin Onion Slices, Halved and Separated
1 Large Garlic Clove, Chopped
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
4 Tablespoons No Salt Added Diced Canned Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Pinot Grigio
20 Small Shrimp, Shelled and Deveined
1/2 Cup Fresh Baby Spinach
1/2 Pound Farfalle Pasta (Cooked According to Package Instructions)
2 teaspoons Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onion strips, garlic, salt, and peppers. Sautee for 3 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the wine to the pan and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
4. Add the shrimp and spinach to the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
5. When the sauce and pasta are finished, add the drained pasta to the sauce pan. Gently stir to combine.
6. Sprinkle the cheese over the dish. Toss. Serve.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Springtime Seafood Boil

As warm days begin, food with a lighter flavor is perfect for a nice dinner at home. This recipe is a scaled down version of my Low Country Boil we made on our last trip to Charleston, South Carolina. This one-pot-wonder features corn, potatoes, clams, shrimp, and andouille sausage. It is the ideal dinner for a warm evening!

6 Cups Water
2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
2 Ears of Corn, Halved
3 White Potatoes, Peeled
7 Ounces Andouille Sausage, Sliced
12 Large Shrimp, Deveined
16 Littleneck Clams

1. In a large stock pot, add the water, seasoning, and corn. Cut the potatoes into large chunks and the sausage into 2-inch lengths. Add the potatoes and sausage to the pot. Heat with the lid on over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Boil for 20 minutes.
2. Once the potatoes are tender, add the shrimp and clams to the pot. Cover and continue to boil for an additional 5 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and the clams have opened.
3. Place the meat and vegetables in a large bowl and spoon over a small amount of the pot liquor.
4. Serve with plenty of napkins!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blueberry and Banana Muffins with Greek Yogurt

It is Sunday morning and time for a warm breakfast for a cool spring morning. As I take inventory of what I have on hand, I notice some bananas and Greek yogurt ready to be used. This recipe combines the fiber of bananas and oatmeal, the sweetness of honey, and the protein of Greek yogurt. The texture is very similar to a bran muffin, but moist and sweet.

2 Bananas
1 Stick Softened Butter/Margarine
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (Not Packed)
1/2 Cup Pure Clover Honey
3 Eggs
1 Cup Quick Cook Oats
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Salt
5.3 Ounces Plain Greek Yogurt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 Cup Blueberries

1. Beat bananas in a stand mixer until creamy.
2. Add butter/margarine, brown sugar, and honey to the banans. Mix until combined. (2 minutes)
3. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix to combine.
4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixer and combine. Add 1/2 of the yogurt and combine. Repeat the process 2 more times, ending with the flour. Mix for 1 minute.
5. Add the vanilla; mix for 30 seconds.
6. Carefully add the blueberries to the batter.
7. Spoon into a muffin tin that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

***Note: I made 6 giant muffins, but this would make 12-15 regular muffins. If you make smaller muffins, you may need to adjust the cooking time.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spicy Buttered Oysters on the Half Shell

Recently, my husband and I decided to have date night at home. We scoured the grocery store for a special menu and decided on an evening filled with delicious seafood and easy recipes. I, personally, have never been a huge fan of oysters, but my husband loves them. So, being the good wife I am, I purchased these beautiful oysters, determined to make an appetizer we could both enjoy. These oysters are tender, buttery, and slightly spicy. This recipe would be great for an intimate dinner or to serve with some white wine at your next party.

4 Tablespoons Softened, Unsalted Butter
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon Dried Parsley Flakes
12 Fresh Oysters

1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, except oysters. Spoon into a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log. Tightly seal inside the plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 10 minutes.
2. While the butter is firming, carefully open the oysters to create oysters on the half shell.
3. Carefully place a small slice of the firmed compound butter onto each exposed oyster.
4. Place on a preheated grill on HIGH heat. Close the lid.
5. Cook for 6 minutes.
6. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Black Bean Burgers

One of my very favorite meals is a delicious veggie burger. I love the tender texture, complex flavors, and fiber packed nutrition that comes with a really good vegetarian burger. However, there are some major issues with the premade burgers you can buy in the freezer section of the store. I don't like fillers, I want a little kick in my burger, and, most importantly, they are inexpensive! This recipe is quick, easy, healthy, and provides a creamy, tender burger that is ready in minutes.

15 oz Canned Black Beans, Drained
1/4 Cup Finely Minced Yellow Onion
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Baby Spinach
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 teaspoons Sriracha Hot Sauce
1 Egg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
3/4 Cup Plain Bread Crumbs
2 Tablespoons Oil (for cooking)
4 Sandwich Rolls

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the beans, onion, spinach, garlic, Sriracha, egg, salt and pepper. Using your hands, work the bread crumbs into the mixture and break the beans apart.
2. Divide the mixture into 4 equal patties and shape into rounds, approximately 1/2-inch thick.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and allow a little extra for puddling. (You may not need the whole 2 Tablespoons.)
4. When the oil is hot, place the burgers into the oil and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes per side. You want it to be brown and crisp, but not burnt! If the burger appears to be cooking too fast, reduce the heat. You want to make sure it cooks throughout because of the egg.
5. I like to serve my black bean burgers with a thin slice of melted provolone, a handful of baby spinach and a heaping spoon of whole grain dijon style mustard on a toasted roll.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Garlic Stuffed Italian Pork Loin

Ok. Have you ever been there? Running late, need to get dinner on the table, struggling to do the laundry and exhausted from a long day?? Well, that is exactly how I found myself the other night. This recipe was the perfect cure. Once you do the prep, you just leave it alone and in an hour, you have a perfect, homemade, healthy dinner. I simply baked potatoes in the oven while it was cooking and then it was done! The flavor is phenomenal without extra fat and calories. The meat comes out tender and juicy from the tented cooking process. You could definitely do this recipe for a crowd and just increase the cooking time and ingredient volumes.

1.5 Pork Loin
2 Large Garlic Cloves, Thinly Sliced
1 Small Yellow Onion
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Using a sharp knife, cut the onion into 1/4" rings. Line the bottom of a baking dish with the onion rings, leaving just a few to place on top of the roast.
3. Use the tip of a knife to make slits throughout the roast by simply pressing down into the meat. Carefully place the thin slices of the garlic inside the slits. Place the loin on top of the onions in the baking dish.
4. Liberally sprinkle the top of the loin with dry seasonings.
5. Place the reserved onion rings on top of the seasoned pork.
6. Tightly cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
7. Bake for 50 minutes. Allow to rest on the counter, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Banana Sour Cream Muffins

So it is a Saturday morning and I am trying to figure out what to make for breakfast. I don't want the standard pancakes, waffles, or scrambled eggs. I happen to notice that we have some extra bananas lying around and I know there is sour cream in the refrigerator. So I decided to combine the two for Banana Sour Cream Muffins. Sometimes the best recipes come from spontaneous moments!

2 Ripe Bananas, Peeled and Sliced
1/2 Cup Softened Butter
1 Cup Sugar
3 Eggs
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Cup Fat Free Sour Cream

1. In a stand mixer, beat the bananas until creamy. Add the butter and sugar. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
3. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixer and stir to combine. Follow with 1/2 of the sour cream. Repeat the flour and cream alternation. Finish with the final 1/3 of the flour mixture. Mix until combined.
4. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray or grease with butter. Use and ice cream scoop to distribute the batter. You should get 24 muffins.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pulled Pork Dumplings

Ok. I know you have heard it before, but we LOVE pulled pork. Since we finally had a warm Saturday here in the mountains, it was time to break out the charcoal smoker, soak some wood chips, and get a pork butt on to cook. While we still had our traditional pulled pork sandwich, we also wanted to mix it up with some pulled pork dumplings. I made the wrappers, which only have 4 ingredients, and find them to be tastier than the store bought; however, if you want to use the store bought, feel more than welcome. These are great for parties, appetizers, or just a quick snack. Serve along side the tangy, Carolina style sauce and you are good to go! This recipe makes 36 dumplings with another extra wrappers to spare. If you use all of the wrappers, you will get 72 delicious pockets! If you do that, just double the amount of sauce you make and as well as the amount of pork used. This one is a keeper!!!!

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
My smoked pork butt prior to pulling.
You can find the rub for the pork
under the Beer BBQ recipe.
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
1/3 Cup Water
2 Cups Pulled Pork (no sauce)
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Water
3/4 Cup White Vinegar
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Water
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1. Whisk together egg and water in small bowl. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl; create a well in the middle. Slowly stream in the egg/water mixture while stirring with your hand. If the flour is really dry, you will need to add more water, 1 Tablespoon at a time. Add just enough water to form a soft dough ball.
2. Move the dough ball to a lightly floured surface. Kneed with your hands for 5 minutes or until the dough is pliable and elastic. Cut in half into two smaller dough balls. Cover each dough ball with a damp paper towel for at least 10 minutes.
3. When ready to make the wrappers, cut each small dough ball into 4 equal sections. Roll each section on a lightly floured surface until almost paper-thin. Use a large biscuit cutter to cut 9 wrappers. Set them aside and cover with a damp towel until you have finished cutting out all your wrappers.
NOTE: I only used half of the dough. I wrapped the other dough ball, tightly, with plastic wrap and refrigerated for use later. It is good for more wonton wrappers, ravioli, or making wonton chips. Also, you can use packaged wrappers but you will need to use an egg wash to seal the edges when folding.
4. To fill the wrappers, place approximately 1 teaspoon of pulled pork into the middle of the wrapper. Gently fold the dough over to form a half-circle. Using your fingers, gently press to seal the edges of the wrappers.
5. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. While the sauce heats, fry the dumplings.
6. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
NOTE: The following lists 2 styles of cooking. If you want crisp dumplings, follow the frying instructions. If you like softer dumplings, follow the steaming instructions.
Frying Instructions: Place just enough dumplings in the heated oil to where they do not touch. Cook for 1-2 minutes on side one, until golden. Turn to side 2 and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. If the pan starts to become dry, add additional oil. Remove from the pan and allow to sit while you fry the remaining dumplings.
Steaming Instructions: Place just enough dumplings in the heated oil to where they do not touch. Cook for 1-2 minutes on side one, until golden. Turn to side 2 and then add 1/8 cup water. Immediately cover with a lid and steam for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to sit while you steam the remaining dumplings.
7. Serve dumplings with warm sauce for dipping.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Poor Man's Ribs: Roasted BBQ Pork Necks

Ok, I know what you are thinking. Pork Necks???? Yes, yes...I was skeptical at first as well. However, as I read about the cut of meat, I found that it was often described as tender and rib-like. So, I decided to give it a try. The cut is much cheaper than any ribs I have been able to find. These turned out fall-off-the-bone and succulent. As my husband said, "This is the poor man's rib." So the next time you are at the store, just step back from what the cut says and just give them a try. They really are delicious!

1 1/2 Tablespoons Whole Grain Dijon Style Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
3 1/2 Pound Fresh Pork Necks
1/4 Cup Water
3 Tablespoons Sweet/Spicy BBQ Sauce

1. In a small bowl, combine the mustard and seasonings to create a flavor paste. Rub the pork necks with the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Prepare a baking sheet with a lip with a wire rack setting over it. Place the meat on the wire rack in a single layer. Pour the water into the bottom of the pan. TIGHTLY cover with aluminum foil.
4. Carefully place in the oven and cook for 2 1/2 hours.
5. After 2 1/2 hours, remove from the oven, uncover, and brush with BBQ sauce.
6. Return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes, uncovered.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

The other night I had a sudden craving for oatmeal raisin cookies and peanut butter. I ran to the kitchen and threw together these cookies. The texture of these cookies are more cake-like than the typical oatmeal cookie, satisfying my love of soft, tender cookies. You probably have all the ingredients for these cookies lying around in your pantry right now!
This recipe yields 24 large cookies.

1 Stick Butter/Margarine, Softened
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
4 Tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter
2 Eggs
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Quick Cook Oats
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Raisins

1. Cream butter, sugars, and peanut butter in a stand mixer for 3 minutes, or until fluffly.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, combining thoroughly after each addition.
3. Add the cinnamon, baking powder, and vanilla. Stir.
4. Slowly incorporate the oats and flour into the mixture.
5. Carefully fold in the raisins.
6. Place heaping tablespoons of batter onto ungreased cookie sheet with 1-inch apart.
7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 13-15 minutes, until slightly golden.
8. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheets before removing to the serving dish.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lasagna Primavera

Do you ever wish you could enjoy the hearty, meaty taste of lasagna without the guilt?  Are you looking for a gluten free recipe? Low carb? Well, for me, this recipe is the result of my deep love for vegetables and my husband's dislike of lasagna noodles. If you don't want to go full vegetarian with this meal, you could add some browned Italian sausage that has been well drained, but I really would not recommend it. Simply let the vegetables speak for themselves and enjoy a dinner on the lighter side.

Marinara Sauce
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
56 oz (weight) Crushed Tomatoes
Zucchini Noodles
4 Zucchini
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Vegetable Oil
"Meaty" Mushroom Filling
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
8 oz (weight) Button Mushrooms, Coarsely Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbsp Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt
Ricotta Filling
4 Tbsp Part-Skim Ricotta
5.3 oz (weight) Plain Greek Yogurt
2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
10 oz (weight) Frozen Spinach, Thawed/Drained
14 oz (weight) Canned Artichoke Hearts, Drained/Chopped
1 Cup Low Moisture Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, Divided

  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the seasonings to the onions and allow to cook for another 2 minutes. Carefully add the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Stir thoroughly. Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour. The sauce should reduce by half and become thickened. Set aside.
  2. While the sauce is cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients. Slice the zucchini 1/4-inch thick lengthwise to create long ribbons. Place the ribbons in a colander and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, tossing to coat both sides of the slices. Allow to sit in the colander for 10 minutes. This set allows the water to come out of the squash.
  3. Brush a large cookie sheet with 1/4 teaspoon oil. Remove the zucchini from the colander and blot on a paper towel to remove excess moisture and salt. Place in a single layer on the baking sheet. Brush over the top of the zucchini with the same brush used to oil the baking sheet; there is enough oil on the bristles to coat the tops.
  4. Place in a 400-degree, preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip over. Place back in the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes. When they are slightly brown, remove from the oven. Set aside to cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  5. To make the ricotta filling, combine the ricotta, Greek yogurt, eggs, Parmesan, and drained spinach. Stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  6. To make the “meaty” mushroom filling, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the coarsely chopped mushrooms, garlic, onion, and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  7. To assemble to lasagna, spoon 3 Tablespoons of marinara into the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish. Line with 1/3 of the zucchini slices, just as you would with noodles. Spoon 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the zucchini and smooth to create an even layer. Top with 1/2 of the mushrooms and 1/2 of the chopped artichoke hearts. Sprinkle 1/4 cup mozzarella over the mixture and then spook another 5 Tablespoons of marinara over the dish. Repeat the layering process again to create the second layer. Top with the final 1/3 of the zucchini strips and 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  8. Spray a large piece of aluminum foil with non-stick spray. Place the foil, sprayed side down, loosely on top of the baking dish. 
  9. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven. Tent with the foil and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Note: This recipe makes more marinara than you will need. I store the extra in a mason jar, covered, inside of the refrigerator. It is great for spaghetti, pizza, bread stick dipping sauce, and any recipe calling for marinara. The sauce stores well for up to a week.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Weeknight Meatball Sandwiches with Provolone

It was a busy weeknight and I was hurrying to try to pull something together for dinner after a very long day. I knew I had some frozen meatballs in the freezer, so I thought I would do a really simple meatball sandwich with a jarred marinara. However, when I went to the pantry, there was no sauce to be found. Never fear! A quick and healthy marinara was on the way. The great thing is that the end result is healthier, tastier, and thicker than anything from a store. So next time you are in a pinch, give these quick meatball sandwiches a try.

1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Minced Onion
1 Large Garlic Clove, Minced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
14.5 ounces (volume) Canned Diced Tomatoes
1 teaspoon Sugar
18 Small, Frozen Meatballs 
4 Sandwich Rolls
4 Slices Provolone Cheese
2 teaspoons Grated Parmesan, divided

Note: I used my Entertaining Meatballs for this recipe. I always make a large batch and then have them on hand in the freezer for nights like this one. You can definitely use a store bought meatball, but I just love to make my own because I can control the seasoning and ingredients.

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sautee for 3 minutes. Add the salt, Italian seasoning, red and black pepper. Sautee for an additional 3 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes and sugar to the pan. Stir to thoroughly combine. 
3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. 
4. Add the frozen meatballs. Cover and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. 
5. Using the edge of your spatula, carefully cut the meatballs in half (if desired). Stir and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
6. While the sauce is finishing, toast the buns in the broiler for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully. You just want the inside of the buns to get slightly golden. Remove and set aside until ready to assemble.
7. To assemble the sandwiches, spoon 1/4 of the sauce and meatballs over the bottom of a bun. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon parmesan and top with 1 slice of provolone. Place the sandwich halves back under the broiler for 1 minute, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and top with the toasted upper bun.
8. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spinach, Bacon & Mushroom Crustless Quiche

So it was Easter morning and I was up early to make a warm breakfast for my husband and me before heading out to Easter Service at church. As I thought about all the things I could make, quiche kept coming to mind. This quiche recipe is quick and easy. For an added bonus, there are TONS of veggies loaded into this healthy, family breakfast. By the way, leftovers are great!

6 Eggs
1/4 Cup Skim Milk
1 Tablespoon Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Button Mushrooms
1/4 Cup Fineld Chopped Baby Spinach
1 Tablespoon Finely Minced Onion
4 Strips Crisp-Cooked Bacon, Chopped
1/2 Cup Monterey/Colby Jack Blend Shredded Cheese
1/2 Tablespoon Butter

Preheat Oven Temperature: 350 degrees
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the milk and eggs until slightly foamy. Slowly add the flour while whisking to avoid lumps.
2. Add the salt, pepper, mushrooms, spinach, onions, bacon and cheese. Stir thoroughly to combine.
3. Place a clear, glass 9-inch pie pan on a large cookie sheet. Completely coat the inside of the pie pan with butter. Pour the quiche mixture into the pie pan, making sure to keep it moving to avoid lumping up of the filling in one location.
4. Carefully place the cookie sheet with the pie pan into the oven.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until completely set in the middle.
6. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.