Saturday, November 13, 2010


This is for sure a dish from my past. By past, I mean like 30 years ago. This pasta dish was a "go to" to order at the only Italian resturaunt around when I was growing up. Can you imagine only a few Italian resturaunts years ago, where there is now 100's?? Manicotti absolutely dates me, you just dont see it on many menus anymore, I cant imagine why. It is probably easier to make then lasagna, the ingredients are pretty much the same, it can be made as heavy or light as one would want. I made a spinach version, and opted to make it meatless, but a ground beef filled manicotti would be delish and very kid friendly in my house. Now that I have been reminded of Manicotti and how good it is, we will be making it again Im certain.

1 box manicotti shells(you will have to go to local grocerystore for these)
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parm cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup frozen spinach(thawed)
1/2 jar favorite prepared sauce
1 cup mozarella cheese

boil noodles according to instruction
thaw spinach and drain any excess moisture as good as possible, I usually place spinach in a collander and put it in the sink and press down on spinach to release all the liquid, I will do that for a few minutes
in bowl combine ricotta, parm, bread crumbs, and spinach
season with salt and pepper
when noodles are cooked, drain them and let cool
coat bottom of baking pan with tomato sauce
start to fill shells with ricotta mixture
as they are filled, line then up in baking pan vertically, if there is room on ends place remaining horizontally
top with sauce and cheese
bake in oven for 40 minutes at 350
remove from oven, let stand 10 minutes to cool
slice and serve

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tilapia with Herb di Provential

OK, so I would be a liar if I said I made this devine herb mixture from scratch, especially if I bought all the herbs fresh, or if I said I grew them. The truth is, a friend of mine made the mixture himself. He went to Whole Foods and bought all the herbs (7 herbs) and probably spent fortune, but a little bit of spice, went a long way. He gave me a about 1/4 cup of the combination in a baggie and I seasoned 4 pieces of Tilapia with it, and barely made a dent in my supply. Very little of anything was needed to prepare my Tilapia other then a smidge of olive oil and this herb mixture. It is definitely inspiring me to get some herb plants to start berb garden because the fresh aromatic, flavorful taste on the fish was undenieable. My friend doesnt measure when cooking, so this is his eyeball version of Herb di Provence
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp sage
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp majoram
1 tbsp lavender
mix all together and combine with 1/4 cup coarse salt

for my tilapia, I place fish in baking pan and lightly coated fish with extra virgin olive oil
sprinkled sparingly herbs over fish,(not much is necessary to flavor fish)
bake for 15 minutes in oven at 350.
Im going to use the herbs again for sure, in the meantime I have them stored in a tupperware

Monday, November 8, 2010

pumpkin Tomato Sauce Pasta

This is a first for myself and my family and I have to say, it was a success. I have often thought of cooking with pumpkin because I do love pumkin pie, but never really came close to doing so until now. I found a recipe for a yogurt smoothie I want to make, but I thought I would start with a savory dish first. Upon scanning the internet for a recipe I did discover how incrdibly nutritious pumpkin from a can is. It is also gives the illusion of a creamy sauce without all the fat or calories.
The recipe was very simple

8 ounces pasta(your choice)
1 cup pumkin puree
1 can 16 oz tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 onion sliced thin
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoon olive oil
fresh parm
salt and pepper to taste

Boil noodles according to instruction
in skillet heat olive oil on medium add onion, and saute until slightly glassy
add minced garlic and saute until cooked, careful not to burn
add pumkin puree, chicken broth and tomato sauce to pan and turn up heat
cook until sauce boils, stirring constantly
lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes
add salt and pepper to taste
drain pasta noodles
toss noodles and sauce together in pan
serve onto plates with fresh parm

Rosemary Salmon

Thank You Michelle for bringing this dish into my life today (and yesterday too)!  This is low carb cooking at it's peak!  I had this with dried rosemary, and can only imagine how delish it would be if I had fresh rosemary - but... no money, no time, no matter - that's what the dried, inexpensive but very flavorful herbs at Aldi can do for you! Cook like a pro, shop like a cheapskate!  YES!  That could have been our blog name!  Anyway, here's the Salmon with Rosemary done in that new Calphalon pan of mine ... NO, I did NOT go buy a new Calphalon frying pan, Joe and I bought this pan about ten years ago - and used the daylights out of it... and the LIFE TIME WARRANTY of my Calphalon pans came thru for me (as did my husband!).  I'd thrown the thing in the cupboard writing it off as "not for common use", but as it is my only frying pan with a metal handle, I needed to keep it so I could bake in the frying pan - but really, it had surpassed it's useful life.  I got something delivered in a big box, can't remember what, Joe did the research (go figure), packaged the dead Calphalon, and about a WEEK - seriously - later I GOT A BRAND NEW CALPHALON PAN!  Okay, cheapskate about herbs, big spender about the cookware (I think we got it on Amazon ... probably using some points or deal of some sort - I'm not really a big spender, but I DO believe in quality!).

So, here's Michelle's Salmon with Rosemary

4 4 oz servings of Salmon
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1 twist of pepper mill
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried, crushed rosemary (or 2 tsp fresh leaves!)

combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and rosemary in a bowl - brush onto the fish.
Put in frying pan with lid, cook for four minutes, flip, cook another four minutes, remove, and serve with a serving (or three) of freshly steamed veggies!

Now that's easy! 

NOTE: the white stuff on top of the salmon in this picture is because I covered the meat for the final four minutes  because I was working with FROZEN salmon that had not been thawed... when I covered the meat the juices, which would have settled to the bottom of the pan and created a beautify browned bottom side to my salmon, cooked on top of the meat - they appear white, but they are just juice.  You can discard or consume - either is fine!  Oh, and there are two servings of fish on my plate - part of the uber-high protein world I'm living in these days!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red Harvest Salad

Sometimes I create a salad that I just love and know that I am going to have to make again. This salad for sure is going on our catering menu. There are lots of flavors and textures in this salad, but it comes together perfectly. I made my own dressing, but a store bought raspberry vinegrette, or Italian would be great. The title Red Harvest came from the abundants of "red" in the salad, along with all the red colored ingredients, including beets which when tossed kindo turn everything it touches a light shade of red. Very pretty though, and very inviting.

1 lb mixed field greens
1 medium red onion sliced thin
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 cup walnuts pieces
1 medium apple cored and sliced in think pieces
1 cup beets sliced thin
1/2 cup blue cheese
1/2 cup dressing

combine in large bowl all ingredients together, toss in dressing mix and seve imediately