Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pasta Salad

This is one of Mary Lynn's recipe and I'll let you in on a secret.  The reason that this tastes so good and BURSTS with flavor is because it has a whole bottle of italian dressing in it!  But no worries, I normally make it with fat free italian so at least that's somewhat healthy ;).  Everytime I bring it to a BBQ/cookout it's eaten right up!

Pasta Salad
(Source: Momma N.)

  • 1 lb tri-colored rotini pasta
  • 1 bellpepper (red, yellow, orange, green - use whatever you like to add color!), diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 stem broccoli, cut into bit size florets
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into halves (or fourths if very large)
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, cubed
  • pepperoni (optional - I typically leave it out)
  • 16 oz light italian dressing

  1. Cook pasta per package instructions.  Drain and rinse with cool water.
  2. While pasta is cooking, prepare peppers, onions, tomoatoes, broccoli, cheese, and pepperoni.  Add pasta and prepared items to cooled pot.  Add italian dressing and stir until well mixed.
  3. Place pasta salad in refridgerator at least 2 hours (the longer the better...I prefer mine to sit overnight!).  Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

This recipe comes from a cooking blog that I have on my google reader.  Her recipes always look delicious and I finally took the plunge to make something off of it.  I wanted to try this because I wanted to break out of the monotony of the same old food and the tzatziki sauce seemed like it would be refreshing on a hot day.  I didn't have a cheesecloth or any suitable substitute so I made my sauce without draining the yogurt and it still turned out delicious.  Next time, I think I'll try making my own pitas maybe! (her blog also has a great recipe for that!)

Chicken Gyros
(Source and Photo Credit: Annie's Eats)

Ingredients:For the tzatziki sauce:
  • 16 oz. plain yogurt (not nonfat, if possible)
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or finely minced)
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil
For the chicken:
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/4 lbs. chicken pieces (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
To assemble:
  • Pita bread
  • Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • Red onion, sliced thin
  1. To make the tzatziki sauce, strain the yogurt using cheesecloth over a bowl.  Let strain for several hours or overnight, if possible, to remove as much moisture as possible.
  2. Shred the cucumber.  Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible.  Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.  Whisk together until mixed well.  Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  4. Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler.  Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.   Cut into strips.
  5. Heat pitas (I sprayed with some spray oil and then popped them in the toaster oven for a few minutes).  Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions.  Serve immediately. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Exquisite Pizza Sauce

After a long day of shopping for kitchen cabinets and appliances we decided to make a quick lunch out of pita pizzas.  I remembered I had a can of tomato paste sitting around and a recipe for pizza sauce that I'd been wanting to try and boy am I glad we did this instead of the usual jarred pizza (or sometimes even spaghetti) sauce!  I have some leftovers in the fridge and some extra pitas...I wouldn't be surprised if we make more later tonight :P.  Since I didn't have parmesan on hand I just used shredded Italian blend cheese and doubled up on the red pepper flakes because I didn't have any Cayenne.  No anchovies for us but I'll leave it since it was in the original recipe in case someone cares for little fishies :).  I added a splash of olive oil for flavor and to help the flavors blend.  To save time, I let the sauce sit and blend for about 10 minutes and then began assembling the pita pizzas.  I figured even if I spoon it out of the bowl it's still blending...and we were hungry!

Try it - you'll never go back and it truly is EXQUISITE as the title says! 

Exquisite Pizza Sauce
(Source: modified from All Recipes)
Exquisite Pizza Sauce Recipe
10 Min
40 Min
Original recipe yield 1 pizza

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. In a small bowl, combine tomato paste, water, Parmesan cheese, garlic, honey, anchovy paste, onion powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and salt; mix together, breaking up any clumps of cheese.
  2. Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough or pita bread.  Top with cheese and desired toppings.  Bake according to dough directions (or for pita bread, 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is slightly crispy) 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake

This is one of those recipes that you make when you have leftover materials and just want to throw something together relatively quickly.  It was great use of ingredients that I had on hand - particularly the remnants of the batch of alfredo sauce that I had made.  As I was feeling particularly lazy, I also opted to use canned chicken breast cubes instead of fresh.  I made this dish last week but I guess just got sidetracked and didn't get to post it to our blog.

Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake
(Source: Based on Amber's Delectable Delights)

8 oz pasta, cooked and drained
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
1 cup mushrooms
1/2 onion, diced
1.5 cups chicken, cooked and shredded or diced
1 jar alfredo sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Pepper and dried basil, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a saute pan, heat 1 Tablespoon butter over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and onions.  Saute until onions are translucent.  Add chicken and frozen broccoli.  Cook until heated and tender.  Add cooked pasta and alfredo sauce and heat until warm throughout.  Season with pepper and dried basil, to taste.
  3. Coat the bottom of the two small or one medium baking dish with a thin layer of alfredo sauce. Place mixture into baking dish and top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

This is definitely a recipe on my "go-to" list because of it's simplicity.  And, a creamy alfredo is just so comforting to eat!  We had this a couple nights ago and I didn't post it earlier because I thought that I had already shared this recipe.  Silly me for almost depriving you of this quick & easy dinner idea!  Serve as a side dish or add your favorite meat (we like chicken) and some veggies (broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms...use your imagination!) to make a full meal.  I think the secret to the quickness and creaminess is the definitely the cream cheese...who would have thought?!

Quick & Easy Alfredo Sauce
(Source: Modified from All Recipes)

5 Min
5 Min
10 Min
SERVINGS 4-6 (depending on how saucy you like it!)

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (or low fat Neufchatel cream cheese)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste
  • Dried basil, to taste
  1. Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan, pepper, and basil. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.