Monday, October 5, 2009

Sausage Stuffed Manicotti

Once my friend Cath came to visit me in PA (round 1, before Sammie) and laughed at me because I referred to everyone there as "my favorite!" (I'll be honest. It was hard not to in the Hershey Ward...) Well, I think I'm doing that with recipes tonight. This is also a new favorite. It's the first new dish that I tried out this summer once we got to Texas. We both loved it! Sammie requests it all the time now. The only change we've made is to use Sammie's sauce instead of bottled sauce. Which reminds me. I'll have him post the instructions...
Sausage Stuffed Manicotti

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Tamale Casserole by Cooking Light

This is my new favorite! It's SO good. I made it one night in PA when we were craving good Mexican Food. (In PA, Taco Bell is considered good Mexican food.) But now that we're in TX, by some pretty killer Mexican food (not to mention Mexico, itself) we still love it! And, a missionary in our ward from Mexico liked it too. So there!
Chicken Tamale Casserole

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Lemony Fruit Dip by Cooking Light

A lot of the recipes I've been doing lately are from Cooking Light. I feel bad reproducing them on this blog, especially because they say right on them not to reproduce them. But... I don't think anyone at CL would object if I posted a link to the recipe on their site.

Lemony Fruit Dip

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I call this "ambrosia." Be careful. It's addicting!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tortellini and Cilantro Pesto Salad

from the American Medical Association Family Health Cookbook

1/2 cup chicken broth, plus 1/4 cup
1 oz. (about 1/4 cup) sun-dried tomatoes
1 pound refreigerated or frozen cheese tortellini
1/2 cup Cilantro Pesto (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 yellow crookneck squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 yello bell pepper; seeded and diced
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

1. Bring 1/2 cup broth to a boil in a small pan. Remove from the heat and add the sun-dried tomatoes. Let the tomatoes stand until they are softened and have absorbed most of the liquid, about 15 minutes. Drain off and discard any excess liquid. Thinly slice the tomatoes.
2. Cook the tortellini in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain well and transfer to a mixing bowl.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the cilantro pesto, remaining 1/4 cup broth, vinegar, and chili powder.
4. To serve, add the dressing, squash, bell pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes to the pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Let the salad stand for at least 15 minutes or refreigerate up to 2 hours before serving at room temperature.
Nutrition Information: About 405 cals, 10g fat, 1g fiber.

Cilantro Pesto
1 cup lightly packed cilantro sprigs
1 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley sprigs
3 large garlic cloves (I use two, otherwise I taste garlic all night)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Place the cilantro and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, drop in the garlic cloves and process until all ingredients are finely chopped. Add the cheese and process about 5 seconds until well blended. With the motor running, pour in the broth and oil. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until a thick, rough puree forms.
2. Use the pesto immediately, refrigerate up to 2 days, or freeze up to 6 months.
Nutrition Information: about 103 cals, 9g fat, 0g fiber

Melba's Note: We LOVE this salad! As Sammie said, it goes really well with his bistecca. The chili powder gives it a southwestern kick. We actually make it without the squash and bell peppers cuz we're finicky eaters and squash is, well... squash.
The pesto is also really good for other things. We use it for mozzarella sandwiches - peasant bread, buffallo mozzarella, tomatoes, and this pesto. Yum!!
The first time we made this meal--steak and pesto salad--we had been fasting all day and were HUNGRY! Everything's better seasoned with a hearty appetite, but this really is good!

Bistecca Italiana di Sammie

1” thick cut New York Strip Steak
Brown Sugar
KC Masterpiece Steak Seasoning with Garlic
Emeril’s Italian Essence

Spread about 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar on one side of the steak. Use the back of a spoon to rub the sugar in. Sprinkle KC masterpiece Steak Seasoning onto the steak – don’t use too little or too much. Sprinkle Emeril’s Italian Essence on the steak. Turn steak over and repeat on other side. Let sit for 1-2 hours and grill on medium-low heat. Flip about every five minutes for 20 minutes or until done (I like medium rare).
Sammie's Notes:
• I’ve found that when I remove the steaks from the plate, the seasoning doesn’t stay on the side of the steak sitting on the plate. I place that side face-up on the grill and re-sprinkle both seasonings onto that side after putting them on the grill.
• I’ve tried letting these steaks sit for long periods of time after seasoning them – I didn’t like the flavor as much. For guests, I start seasoning the steaks about 2 hours before we plan on eating and I never start cooking steaks until the guests are here. Steak is best right off the grill – I seat the guests just before the steaks are finished and put the steaks on their plates straight from the grill.
• Extra special thanks to Elder Knudsen – a missionary from Arizona currently serving in State College – who taught me how to cut New York strip steaks from a cryovac and suggested I use brown sugar on the steaks. (Combining it with the other two seasonings was my idea…)
• Melba and I like to eat these steaks with a cheese tortellini pesto salad. (see next entry)

Melba's note: YUM!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Decadent Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding by Donna Fuller

This recipe yields 2 servings. It is easy to double or triple.
For bread pudding mixture:
2 ½ Hawaiian Sweet bread rolls
2/3 cup 2% milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 ½ tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp Kahlua
½ tsp vanilla
1 large egg, lightly beaten

For topping:
1 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tbsp cool whip

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Slice bread rolls into 1-inch squares. Spread out into one layer on a baking sheet and bake in preheated 350 degree oven until slightly brown, about 5 minutes.
Combine all other dry and wet ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in browned bread squares. Cover and refrigerate mixture for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease two 6-ounce ramekins. Fill each ramekin halfway with bread pudding mixture, sprinkle ¼ of chopped topping chocolate in each ramekin. Fill each ramekin with remaining bread pudding mixture and top with remaining chopped chocolate.
Place ramekins in a water bath and bake for 35 minutes at 325 degrees. Carefully remove hot ramekins from water bath and top each with a dollop of cool whip and serve warm. A mint sprig or berries are a nice additional garnish.

Donna's note: I think you could ax the Kahlua and maybe add a bit more vanilla and never really miss it.

Melba's note: Sammie has a group of close "MBA" friends that he frequently studies with or works with on projects. I sometimes remind him that "Donna's the best one out of all of you!" We've become good friends with her, her husband Todd, and their dog Samson (Phoebe's boyfriend). Donna, in addition to being smart and accomplished, is a fabulous cook! She sent on this recipe and I hope to get more from her. (hint... hint...) If you ever meet her, ask her how she got her boss arrested...

German Pancakes from Lindsay Kaelberer and Angie Hyde

6 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter
Turn oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in 9X13 pan. Whip in blender eggs, flour, milk, vanilla, salt. Pour mixture into pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cut into squares and serve quickly. May sprinkle with powdered sugar or jam, jelly, honey, or syrup.

Lindsay's note: Anna likes to put lemon juice and brown sugar on it. Whatever. (We say that a lot about Anna...)

Melba's note: These are good! I made them for a Relief Society Birthday brunch and they were a huge hit! In fact, Dawn (RS fearless leader and woman extraordinaire) asked for the recipe so this one's for her!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chicken Tamale Casserole from Cooking Light

1 cup (4 oz.) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4 oz.) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5 oz.) box corn muffin mix
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cooking spray
1 (10 oz.) can red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13X9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tbs sour cream. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition Information: 354 calories, 14.1g fat, 18.9g protein, 36.3g carb, 2.5g fiber

Melba's Note: We don't have any good Mexican restaurants in or near State College, so I'm always craving Mexican food, and I ESPECIALLY love tamales. This satisfies that craving and then some...
With Cooking Light recipes, I've found that I usually need to significantly increase (sometimes even double) the suggested cooking time. Has anyone else had that experience? I don't know if their ovens are just really hot (maybe they cook in a convection oven?) or if their food testers just like raw or undercooked food. Anyway, I cook the corn mixture for 20-25 minutes. The chicken part isn't such a big deal cuz you're just warming the whole thing and melting the cheese.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Hi All -
I know, I know. I need to post some recipes. I will, I promise. I just added the label feature to the blog to make it easier to find recipes. When I send people to the blog for a recipe, I realize they have to look through more than a year's worth of posts and it's probably kinda annoying. So... each recipe is labeled according to it's title, type of food (main dishes, soups and stews, sides, sweets, bread, or breakfasts), and either the cookbook I got it from or the person who gave it to me. Hopefully it will make the site more user-friendly.
I always joke that I get the most accomplished when I have a stack of papers to grade because I find really creative ways to put off grading. Well, I better quit now and go... yes... grade. :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sammie's Steak Marinade

2/3 Cup Cranberry Juice
3 T Balsamic Vinegar
2 T Olive Oil
2 T Chopped Fresh Rosemary
2 Cloves Garlic diced
McCormick Montreal Steak Rub
2 Good-size Sirloin steaks

Combine the cranberry juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, rosemary and garlic in a Tupperware dish. Add the steaks to the dish – then flip the steaks so that both sides have been covered with marinade. The steaks do not need to be completely immersed in the marinade, but they should have garlic and rosemary sitting on top of them while they marinate. Let them sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours – flip the steaks about every 2 hours in the marinade.

Remove the dish from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Sprinkle some of the Montreal Steak rub on either side of the steaks as you put them on the grill. Continue pouring a small amount of the marinade on the steaks while they cook.

Note – I tend to be pretty generous with the garlic and rosemary. I also like to let steaks marinade overnight. If you do this, be sure to flip them right before you go to bed and in the morning when you get up.

Sammie's Note: I went to a local restaurant in September – The Allen Street Grill – and had the best steak I’ve ever had in my life. A month later, on the day I signed the offer from Dell, Melba and I went to this restaurant to celebrate and I ordered this steak again. I tried to get the recipe, but it should come as no surprise that they wouldn’t give it to me. All I know is that it is a ‘Sweet Vinaigrette’. I have been trying to duplicate it since then and this is a recipe from a Williams & Sonoma grilling cookbook which is pretty close. It’s a simple marinade which tastes awesome. W&S says it is for sirloin and while I have only used it for sirloin (don’t have the money for rib-eye), I think it will work well with any other type of steak.

Melba's Note: My Texas husband will be out on our deck, a foot of snow on the ground and more falling, grilling IN SANDALS!!!! It's wonderful.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Matt Kaelberer

1 c shortening
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 6 0z. bag large Guittard milk chocolate chips
Mix shortening, sugars, salt and vanilla for 2 min. Add eggs and mix well. Add flour and baking soda. Mix. Add choc. chips and mix. Bake 8 min. at 360 degrees. Matt says they'll look like much but take them out anyway.

Melba's note: This is another of Matt's signature dishes. You can never have too many choc. chip cookie recipes, can you?

Gingersnaps from Matt Kaelberer

2 1/2 c flour
1 c packed brown sugar
3/4 c shortening
1/4 c molasses
1 egg
1 t soda
1 t ginger
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/4 c sugar
In a large mixing bowl place about half of the flour. Add brown sugar, shortening, molasses, egg, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed till thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in remaining flour. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in sugar to coat. Place balls 2" apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or till edges are set and tops are crackled. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Remove cookies and cool on wire racks. Makes about 48.
Nutrition Information: 77 cals, 1 g protein, 11 g carbs, 3 g fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 40 mg potassium.

Melba's note: My nephew Matt made these for a family game night and they are awesome! Matt has become the official cookie-maker of his family. He also helps out his mom sometimes by making dinner. He's also way smart and good looking. When I saw him this Christmas, my first words were, "Matt! You are HOT!"