BAKED ZITI

OK… so maybe I have a little thing going on for Italian food! I swear it’s my best friend’s fault and her name is Katherine Pagaaaannnnoooo * I just tried to pronounce it in her voice, not the same, I miss her and Italy and her cooking is so far away*… anyways, I digress! I decided to try this recipe because the seasonings looked about right! Am I the only one who chooses recipes based on what the seasonings look like? Show of hands!? *bunch of weirdos* 😀

This recipe turned out delicious and my small family of four devoured a meal made for 8! Well I guess if I didn’t starve them half to death while I took pics, I might have had some left overs for lunch! Here’s the recipe, have at  it! Bon Apetite or whatever! *insert weird hand gestures*

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
  • ½ (6-oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb dried pasta (ziti or penne are best)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (8-oz) package shredded Italian cheese blend ( I used half and it was plenty cheesy)
  • basil, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large skillet over high heat, brown sausage, about 10 minutes. (I drain the oil to cut down on the fat)
  2. Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, Italian seasoning, dried pasta, and water. Stir to combine, cover and bring to a boil. Boil until pasta is al dente.
  3. Meanwhile; combine ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until well incorporated.
  4. Stir ricotta mixture into pasta. Preheat oven to broil. Top skillet with shredded cheese and place in oven. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Keep a close eye on it or you will have crispy cheese pretty quick.
  5. Garnish with basil and serve. Easy peasy!

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PEACH COBBLER

Peach cobbler is probably the easiest dessert I make and it’s just perfect for a treat on a warm afternoon. My poor peach tree is struggling, so I used canned peaches this time around. But I have some hope because I spied a couple rosy pink buds forming!

Try this recipe, I’m sure it will fall into your regular recipe rotation 🙂

Ingredients

Batter

      • 1/2 cup melted butter
      • 1 cup flour
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 2/3 cup room temperature milk
      • 1 room temperature egg

Filling

    • 1 (28 ounce) cans sliced peaches, drained
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.
  3. Stir in milk & egg.
  4. Pour evenly over melted butter.
  5. Combine peaches, sugar & spices and spread over batter-DO NOT STIR!
  6. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350°F until batter comes to the top and is golden brown.
  7. Serve warm with ice cream.

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SPICY TURKEY FARFALLE

Spicy turkey farfalle is a huge favorite in my family. It’s quick and easy to prepare, spicy and cheesy and goes nicely with some crusty garlic bread! My 4 year old son calls this dish butterfly wings and sausage 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

1 t extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
13 oz Smoked Turkey Sausage, sliced (I used Hillshire Farms)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ¼ cups low sodium fat free chicken broth
10 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes & green chiles, original (you can reduce by half and add diced tomatoes if you can’t handle spicy)
½ cup fat free half and half ( I use regular milk)
½ t salt
½ t black pepper
10 oz uncooked wheat pasta (I used farfalle/bowties)
4 oz reduced fat Pepper jack cheese, shredded (I used Cabot 50%)
4 oz shredded mozzarella
2 medium scallions, diced

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet or sauté pan (oven-safe if you have it – I don’t!), add the olive oil and bring over medium heat.

Add the onions and sausage to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until sausage is browned and onions are tender.

Add the garlic and stir. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the broth, Ro-Tel, half and half, salt and pepper and mix together.

Add the uncooked pasta and stir together until the liquid covers the pasta.

Cover the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep covered. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.

Set your oven to broil and make sure one of your oven racks is in the top 1/3 of the oven. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in half of the shredded cheeses. If your skillet is oven-safe, you may continue to use it in the following steps. If it isn’t (mine isn’t) or you aren’t sure, transfer the pasta into a baking dish. I used a 7×11 dish but you can certainly use a 9×13.

Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top of the pasta and follow it with the sliced scallions. Place the dish in the top 1/3 of the oven and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown (keep checking because broiling can happen really fast!).

Serve with garlic bread and maybe some wine, if you’re fancy 🙂

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Grilled Salmon and zoodles…caroodles?!?

Ok so I’m not that good with coming up with food names, but its delicious and you should give it a try! It almost felt like summer…until I glanced at the thermometer… Brrrrr *shivers*

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon steaks or fillets
Marinade ingredients
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tsps Cajun seasoning

Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients and pour over salmon. Marinate for 1 hour. Place salmon on oiled grill at medium heat ( I used a grill pan, too cold to go outside)
  2. Grill for 3 to 4 mins on each side.

The veggie noodle recipe is already in my blog, check it out! Kids *and the big kids*  love the colors 🙂

P.S. This is my daughter and she is quite the character, while I had my back turned taking pics of the food, she snuck over to the stove and started stuffing her face with salmon… then she quickly covered her face with a mask so I wouldn’t know it was her, but Princess Optimus Prime who stole the fish LOL!!! WTG girl, you really fooled me 😉

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Roasted Garlic Asparagus

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  • 1 34-2 lbs fresh crisp asparagus
  • 1cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1tsp red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper(to taste)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Heat olive oil, minced garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a small pan over low heat until garlic becomes golden and oil becomes fragrant; remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Bend asparagus gently until it breaks at a natural point and discard ends.
  4. Toss asparagus pieces with infused olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet (one with a side edge).
  5. Season asparagus with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast at 400F  for 12 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
  7. Serve hot.

SAUTEED MUSHROOMS AND ONIONS

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  • 1/2 lb sliced button mushrooms (crimini works as well)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into wedges
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt the butter and olive oil together in a frying pan and add the mushrooms and onions; let them cook slowly, over medium heat, until the mushrooms are getting a little brown and the onions are nice and soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. While there’s still some moisture left from the mushrooms, add the Worcestershire sauce, pepper flakes and garlic salt.
  3. The mixture will thicken and it’s ready to serve.
  4. Serve with grilled steak and use leftovers for omelets.

SMOKED HERRING FRIED RICE

Sometimes the best dishes have the fewest ingredients, and it’s certainly the case with this dish! After working all day in the cane fields, this is what my grandfather always wanted to eat. At first I despised that smoky fishy smell, but as I grew older *and was forced to eat it enough times*, I started to appreciate that smoky fish smell and the pungent long-lasting flavor.

Imagine my surprise when my 4 year old walked into the kitchen when I was cooking this and said ” MMMMMM what’s that deliciousssss smell?!?.” He has to be out of his little mind!

When I bake cookies, he says nothing, cakes, nothing, pies, nothing…smoked herring and he goes crazy! Maybe he has some of my Caribbean roots after all!

All you need for this dish is some left over rice, sliced onions, habanero pepper *if you’re feisty*, and some smoked herring that’s been soaked to remove some of the salt and chopped into little pieces.

Heat a little oil in your frying pan and saute onions, pepper and smoked herring. Toss in your rice and let it warm through. Easy peasy right?

Give it a try!

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