Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sausage and Pepper Penne

As you have seen from my previous posts, I love to create cheap recipes and to find ways to use leftover ingredients so that they don't go to waste. This recipe was no different. We had a catering one saturday and we had a ton of tri-colored peppers leftover from the veggie display. I have used the peppers in the past to make things like fajitas, quesadillas, etc.

I used items that I have stockpiled like pasta and pasta sauce and it basically cost what the sausage and cheese cost. (Prob around $5) I got the pasta sauce for $.09 a jar and the pasta $.25/box on sale at awhile back. If you had to buy all of the ingredients it would probably cost you $10 - $12 to make.

Sausage and Pepper Penne
1 lb box penne pasta (you can use rotini, bowties, etc too)
1 1/2 lb ground italian sausage
2 TBL olive oil
Approx 2 peppers sliced (you can use assorted colors)
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 jars pasta sauce, like Ragu or Prego
1 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 TBL sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb mozzeralla cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesean cheese

- Saute and crumble sausage in a skillet.
- In a deep skillet or pot over medium heat, saute the onions and peppers in oil until softened. Add the garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add pasta sauce and tomatoes
- Add all dried seasonings and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Cook pasta until very al dente. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven so you don't want to overcook them.
- Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Mix well and add half of the mozzeralla cheese. Stir until combined and pour into a deep baking pan that has been coated with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.
- Cover with the remaining mozzeralla cheese and parmesean cheese.
- Bake covered for about 30 minutes at 350 and uncover for 5 more.

Giada's Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabiatta Sauce

I watched Giada make this recipe on her show a couple of months ago and I knew that I had to try it at some point. The recipe is called Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabiatta Sauce and you can get the recipe here. They were really good! They are basically shells stuffed with a mixture of ground turkey, artichokes, ricotta, parmesean cheese, etc. They are then topped with a sauce called Arrabiatta Sauce which is basically just jarred marinara sauce with some panchetta and lots of red pepper flakes. The next time that I make this I will definitely use a lot less red pepper flakes. This recipe calls for 2 teaspoons and it lit my world on fire! ha

This recipe calls for frozen artichokes and I could not find frozen artichokes here for some reason so I just used canned that I drained and rinsed. I don't think that they turned out any different because of this.

I am also not sure if I will use panchetta next time either. It was really expensive here where I was able to find it. I tend to like to make recipes with cheaper ingredients.

I have had good experiences with Giada's recipes so far. I will definitely try more as I see things that I like.

Until next time...

Monday, September 14, 2009

MSC Club - Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

This month is the first month that I have participated in the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club. I have to say that I was happy with the selection that Tracey's Culinary Adventures made for us this month. The recipe that we made was Zucchini Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. I have never had a zucchini cupcake before and I was plesantly surprised with the outcome. I make a TON of zucchini bread over the summer when zucchini is at its peak. This was a nice change from that, although I have to say that the method and texture of the batter reminded me of my zucchini bread recipe.

The cupcakes themselves turned out super moist and very dense. They have a lot of "spice" to them as I guess the recipe title suggests. :-) I may cut back on the amount of cloves and nutmeg that the recipe calls for if I make them again. I especially liked this recipe because I didn't have to drag out my mixer. You mix the batter by hand. The recipe also doesn't call for butter so there is no patiently (but most of the time impatiently) waiting around while the butter gets to room temperature.

The cream cheese frosting is fabulous. I over did it on the vanilla in mine though (note to self: use measuring spoons for vanilla ha). I actually had some frosting leftover that I put on brownies later in the week.

My colleagues at work love it when I make new recipes because they usually reap the benefits from them. This was no exception. They were a huge hit.

I am looking forward to making the Banana Pecan Cupcakes Bonus recipe for this month. It will be a week and a half from now before I can make them though because I will be headed to the beach in 3 days!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Vegetable Soup

As you have seen from some of my other posts, I love making soups, stews, chili, etc. I imagine that I will be making more and more of them now that Fall is coming upon us. I love it when the temperature begins to drop!

I make this soup all of the time. I used rotisserie chicken in this soup but I have also made it in the past with leftover pot roast. The nice thing about vegetable soups is that you can really do your own thing with it based upon what you have on hand. Here is what I put in this soup...

Chicken Vegetable Soup
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 zucchini, sliced in half moons
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans of corn
1 14.5 oz can of green beans
1 14.5 oz can of tomato sauce
1 small can of cream of mushroom soup
4 cups of chicken broth (you can do half water if you like)
1 - 4 oz can of diced green chiles
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp season salt
3 TBL sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 half of a rotisserie chicken, shredded

Combine all of the ingredients in the crockpot except for the chicken. Cook on low for 8 hours. Add the chicken about 30 minutes before serving to heat through.

Use the leftover chicken to make something fun like chicken salad.