Monday, March 21, 2011

Recipe Swap: Pierogi and Kielbasa Bake

My co-workers frequently ask me how I manage to work full time and cook the types of meals and treats that I do.  In this day and age, it seems so few actually take the time to make a home cooked meal anymore.  I'll admit in the past, I was one of those people.  I didn't have the slightest clue to how cook anything more than boxed mac n cheese or spaghetti with jarred sauce.  Oh, and if I was feeling really fancy, I'd brown some ground beef and that would be spaghetti with (still jarred) MEAT sauce!  Oooh fancy!

Enter my husband moving in with me and the need to feel domesticated.  On top of that add that I come from a family of cooks (Grandpa owned 2 restaurants and I had 3 aunts/uncles that also owned restaurants...the family that didn't own the restaurants cooked or waited on tables).  I was on the hunt to become a better cook.  This is when I stumbled upon The Nest and eventually, the What's Cooking message board (commonly referred to as simply "WC").  This place is a culinary-lovers dream.  A place for aspiring chefs, food photographers, and bloggers to share their creations with the world!

I'm inspired by the ladies on the WC message board.  They are part of the reason that I began blogging nearly twp years ago.  This is why when Sarah (oct11bride) of Taste of Home Cooking posted a call for people interested in participating in an "Easy Weeknight Meal" themed recipe swap I jumped right in.  The idea is simple.  You send an easy recipe that uses minimal ingredients and can be made in under and hour and then Sarah did some magical behind-the-scenes stuff to swap your recipe with someone else.  Then, you cook the recipe, write a review, and post it to the message board.  Cool!  I submitted a Chicken Bruschetta recipe (which hey, I made nearly 1 year ago to date!) and in return I received Melissa (bride2bnVA) from Lemons and Love's Pierogi and Kielbasa Bake recipe.

I'll have to admit that it was really warm today (a gorgeous 75 degrees! Helloooo first full day of Spring!) and so turning on the oven was the last thing I wanted to do but hey, all for the sake of a good meal, right?  Melissa doubled Cooking Light's original recipe but since it's just Chris and I, I scaled it back down.  To make myself feel more "Spring" and add some nutrition, I threw in some veggies that I had laying around in the fridge.  I didn't really want to open a whole (2 cup) can of chicken broth just to use 1/2 cup of it so instead I substituted a dry white Sauvignon Blanc wine.  And, because I love everything spicy and garlicy, I doubled the garlic and added a couple healthy dashes of cayenne pepper.  All these changes are reflected below.

This recipe was yummy and as promised, easy to create as a weeknight meal. I might have complicated it more than the version Melissa sent in the exchange but I still had dinner on the table in about 30 minutes so you can't say that's not fast!  It's a great base recipe that you can adjust to your personal tastes and make your own just like Melissa and I both did.  Muah, magnifico!

One Year Ago: Stuffed Shells and Look-Alike Hostess Cupcakes

Pierogi and Kielbasa Bake

Pierogi and Kielbasa Bake

  • 1 (16-ounce) packages frozen potato and cheese pierogies (such as Mrs. T's)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 pound (8 oz) kielbasa, cut into small pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Assorted veggies (used leftovers from my fridge - 1/4 red pepper, 1/4 green pepper, and a couple handfuls of frozen peas)
  • 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese (Neufchantel cheese)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 diced roma tomato
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A few shakes of cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Arrange the pierogies in an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dishes coated with cooking spray.
  3. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add kielbasa and cook about 2-3 minutes, or until sausage begins to slightly brown.  Then, add garlic and fresh veggies (frozen can skip this step) and saute for a couple minutes longer. Add cream cheese, pepper, and cayenne pepper and cook for 1 minute or until cream cheese begins to melt, stirring frequently. Gradually add wine or chicken broth to pan, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Stir in tomatoes. 
  4. Remove pan from heat and spoon mixture over the pierogies.  If you have any frozen veggies, put those on top of the mixture and then top with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. 
  5. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated.  Serve hot.
Source: Adapted from Lemons and Love who had adapted her version of the recipe from Cooking Light  

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Looks great! I love your additions.