Saturday, December 15, 2007

Meaty Rigatoni Pizza Bake

  • 1 C uncooked rigatoni or large tube pasta
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey, ground beef, or bulk Italian sausage
  • 1-1/2 C spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can (4oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
  • 1/2 C shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 8 slices pepperoni

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, crumble meat into a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce and mushrooms. Drain pasta; add to meat mixture.
2. Transfer to a 1-qt baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top with cheese and pepperoni. Cover and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

Robyn's notes: recipe originally called for bulk Italian sausage instead of ground turkey.  I used turkey the first time, and beef the second time I made it, and with the turkey when stirring in the mushrooms, I also stirred in cubed eggplant. This was really easy and he liked it.  The second time making it (photo above) I dished into two small baking dishes instead of one larger one.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Lentils are legumes, seeds of a plant, and they grow in pods that contain either one or two lentil seeds. They generally have a mild, earthy, somewhat nutty flavour. They cook relatively quickly, but before cooking, always rinse them and pick out stones and other debris. Unlike dried beans and peas, there's no need to soak them. Lentils cook more slowly if they're combined with salt or acidic ingredients, so add these last. Bigger or older lentils take longer to cook. Store dried lentils for up to a year in a cool, dry place.

Lentils are the vegetable with the highest level of protein, other than soybeans, and they were apparently selected by Health Magazine as one of the 5 healthiest foods. They are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, and the high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. They are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Studies show that eating high fiber foods such as lentils, helps prevent heart disease.

The legume also has significant amounts of folate, magnesium, and iron.

GF - Depending on the brand you purchase, the lentils may have been processed on the same equipment as wheat products. Lentils themselves are, of course, gluten-free, but check your packaging.

Lentil Soup for the Soul

  • 1/3 C chopped peeled parsnip
  • 1/3 C diced peeled potato
  • 1/4 C chopped green onions
  • 1/4 C chopped leek (white portion only)
  • 1/4 C chopped carrot
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 can (14.5oz) vegetable broth
  • 1 C canned no-salt-added whole tomatoes, cut up
  • 1/3 C dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1/4 C dry red wine or additional vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 C minced fresh cilantro

1. In a large saucepan, saute the parsnip, potato, onions, leek, carrot and celery in oil for 3 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, lentils, wine or additional broth, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
2. Just before serving, discard bay leaf; stir in cilantro.

Yield: 4 Cups

Robyn notes: the recipe looks more time-intensive than it is, because the ingredient list is long, but once you chop everything up it goes really quickly. He prefers that I not peel any vegetables, so I just wash them really well and chop them up. I couldn't find actual bay leaves at the grocery the other day, so I sprinkled a small amount of dried chopped bay leaves, since I wasn't sure how strongly it would change the flavour. I rarely use canned broth, I tend to use enough of both vegetable broth and chicken broth that I have the cardboard refrigerated containers on hand, and I just measure out the right amount. In this case, to get 14.5oz, it's a little more than 1 and 3/4 C. I also didn't bother to cut up the whole tomatoes, once the soup had been brought to a boil, I just pressed the spoon hard to the center of each tomato and they broke apart in the pot. I know there's a lot of notes for this one, but it was a simple recipe and went over very well. He really liked it, actually scarfed down two full servings real quick.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mexican Veggies

  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 C fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/2 C salsa

1. Place 1 inch of water in a small saucepan; add zucchini and corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until zucchini is almost tender. Drain. Stir in salsa; heat through.

Robyn's notes: fast, easy. I purposely undercooked it for his preference

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

  • 2/3 C condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 2/3 C sour cream
  • 2 C shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 4 flour tortillas (6 inches)

1. In a small bowl, combine soup and sour cream. Spread half over the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray.
2. Place 1/2 C chicken and 1 Tbsp cheese down the center of each tortilla; roll up and place in the baking dish. Top with remaining soup mixture; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until heated through.

Robyn's notes: served with Mexican Veggies. This went very quickly, and we liked it but if I make it again I'll add some type of flavoring to the chicken.

** 2 Stars: Acceptable. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, if I make changes

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thai Tofu Sandwiches

  • half package extra firm tofu
  • 2 heaping Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
  • dash garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp sliced green onions
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • whole wheat pita
  • spinach leaves
  • sliced tomato

1. Drain tofu if necessary; gently press between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture.
2. In medium bowl, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic powder, and hot pepper sauce; mix well. Add tofu, bell pepper, onions and cilantro; stir with fork until well mixed and tofu is crumbly.
3. Stuff split pita pockets with spinach leaves, sliced tomato, and tofu mixture.

Robyn's notes: I used the remaining half of the package of tofu from last week. This went quickly and was quite easy, as well as being different from the tofu sandwich filling I served last week.