Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In the Dinner Rut: A Pasta Pie

When finding new recipes I love to look at pictures. I skim the actual recipe and study the picture and develop my own recipe based on the idea and how it should look. So my new favorite website, Pinterest, has become an addiction. When I came across a post of a pasta pie I knew I had to try it. Mainly because I wanted to see if it really worked. This would be an impressive dish to serve to guests. What you will need; a springform pan, 1 box of rigatoni pasta, 1 lb ground beef, 1/2 lb of sausage, 1 jar of pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Cook pasta only half of the directed time. Drain, rinse with cold water and toss with olive oil. Arrange pasta in a greased springform pan standing up. Really pack the noodles in. One box fit perfect for me.

Brown ground beef and sausage and drain grease. Add the jar of pasta sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Really make sure to breakdown the beef and sausage. You want it to be able to sink down into the pasta openings.

Pour sauce over the top of the noodles. Pressing it down and trying to work some it down the pasta openings. Make sure to put your springform pan on a baking sheet. Some of the sauce seeped out of mine and made a mess until I put it on a sheet.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until hot. I did mine about 30 minutes. Remove and add cheese to top. Bake for another 10-20 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Let cool for a couple of minutes, run a knife around the edges and release the outer ring. Slowly remove, making sure nothing is sticking. I really expected that when I was doing this the whole thing was gonna fall apart. But it didn't!

Definitely will be making this again. Probably when we have guests or if I need to bring a dish somewhere. It is impressive and cuts just like a pie.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

In the Dinner Rut: Mongolian/Hunan Beef

Sometimes I feel like I make the same 10 dinners over and over again. So when the little one naps on a Saturday afternoon I watch cooking channels and surf the Internet for dinner ideas. When I could not find anything that sounded good I started pondering the idea of just ordering Chinese food. But the thought of greasy chicken and gooey sauce got me thinking maybe I should try making something myself. I found a recipe for Hunan Beef that sounded fairly simple to make. I made my list and headed to the store.

Thinly sliced flank steak marinating.

Sliced onions and bell peppers.

This dish paired with some sticky white rice was just perfect for a fun and different Saturday night dinner. It was also really easy, I just think I need to invest in a wok. Watch out for the grease splatter when you add the meat to the hot peanut oil! Definitely adding it to my list of dinners.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So Thankful for Cranberries!

I have always loved cranberries. I even love the canned jelly that is a part of most Thanksgiving feasts. But several years ago I started making my own cranberry sauce and Thanksgiving has never been the same. I follow the 1,1,1 + extras when it comes to making cranberry sauce. One 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries, 1 cup liquid, 1 cup sweetener and what ever extras will make it your own. This year I did 1 bag cranberries, 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 vanilla bean. This combination turned out so good!

I came across a recipe the other day for a Pear Cranberry Compote and decided that this could be a fun alternative to the normal cranberry sauce on our Thanksgiving table this year. Something I thought my little brothers, nieces and son would really enjoy. I added a few more cranberries then the recipe called for and 2 vanilla beans. Who would have thought that these fall favorites would work so good together? This will also be great mixed with yogurt or cottage cheese.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 7, 2011

Girls Night Out

I was so excited that my husbands night off finally coincided with one of the mommy's group Girls Night Out.  I was even more excited that it was at Karma Vineyards this month.  I had been to the winery, tasted their wine but had never eaten there.  I have always heard great things about the food and when the chef told us he was going to try some new recipes out on us, the evening got even better.

So there we were, good wine, great conversation (snicker, snicker) and the food stated flowing.  I did not get a picture of everything we tried but here are some of the highlights. 

We started with a variety of cheeses
Striped lobster ravioli
Seared ahi tuna
Thick cut pork chop, roasted garlic mashed potatoes with a red wine chocolate demi glaze.  I think this was my favorite of the evening.  Other then the desserts!

Some of the other things we had were sweet potato fries, spicy steamed clams, chicken and brie sandwich, chocolate creme burlee and a chocolate torte.  WOW, did I forget anything? 

What a great night!  Thanks ladies!