Friday, May 31, 2013

Tortellini Bake


Update 1/27/2014:
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Sometimes everyone needs a fast and easy dinner recipe -- this is about to become my go to. This recipe is a nice comforting dish to come home to and it's so easy to make.

From the Art of Comfort Baking.

-1 bag of frozen cheese filled tortellini (19 or 20 oz)
-1 jar of alfredo sauce (15 oz)
-1/2 jar of marinara sauce
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.
Cook the tortellini according to package directions.
Mix with the alfredo and marinara sauce in an 8x8 baking dish.

Top with mozzarella and parmesan. 
Bake for fifteen minutes.

Then broil for five minutes to get a nice bubbly and golden topping. 

Serve immediately. 
This was so easy to make! I was so happy about how easy this was to put together, the flavors went great together. If you're having a bad day, but you're not feeling take-out, this might replace mac and cheese as your new favorite comfort food.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Truffle Mac and Cheese

I've seen a lot of recipes with truffle oil, but I've never made anything with it, and I don't think I've ever eaten anything with it. I bought some to try, and this was our first recipe using it. I'll probably be trying a few more things with it in the future.

This recipe comes from double truffle.

We doubled the original recipe, so this made about 6 servings.

-2 2/3 cups macaroni
-1 cup dry white wine
-2 1/2 cup vegetable stock
-2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (we used extra, more than the original recipe called for)
-2 Tblsp flour
-1 cup cream cheese
-4 tsp truffle oil (but possibly use less, this was a lot for us)
-Black pepper

Boil white wine for 10 minutes. Then add the vegetable stock.
Lower the heat, coat the cheddar cheese with flour, and add to the mix.
Add the cream cheese and stir.
This stage took a long time for our cheese mixture to thicken, and it never really got as thick as I thought it should.

Cook the macaroni according to package directions.
Add the truffle oil to the cheese and pour over the macaroni.
Top with some pepper.

This recipe wasn't as good as I had hoped, but I think it was just because we used too much truffle oil. The flavor was pretty good, but just strong. I think using cream cheese was a good idea for this macaroni and cheese. I'll probably try this again sometimes, but try to cook the sauce on a higher heat to make it thicker and use less truffle oil.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Grilled Peach Salad

This is the last post for Salad Wednesday, here is a list of our other salads from this spring:

Our next Wednesday series will be Grilling Wednesday, perfect for the summer. This recipe is a transition between the two, it was a salad, but it used grilled peaches. Look back every Wednesday where will will try out some interesting vegetarian recipes for the grill!

This idea came from Paula Deen.

-3 peaches cut into slices
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 tsp salt
-5 cups spinach lettuce mix
-1/2 cup chopped pecans
-1/3 cup mozzarella cheese

I used a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette as dressing, and it went well with this salad.

Make up a plate of the greens, pecans and cheese.
Brush the peaches with a little olive oil and salt.
Put on the grill for about 2 minutes per side.
A few fell apart, but not many.
They got some nice grill marks.
Add the peaches and dressing to the salad.
This was one of the best salads I have made. It is great to be able to use the grill, and grilling the peaches really brought out their flavor. The spinach and the peaches were a good combination too. I would recommend this as a side dish next time you grill.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Piquant Radish Soup with Sour Cream

This recipe comes from Vegetarian Times magazine and can be found in the April/May 2013 issue on p. 64. I was drawn to this recipe because of the color of the soup, I like radishes in my salad, but I've never had them on anything else before. The recipe in the magazine called for crème fraîche instead of sour cream, but I couldn't find any crème fraîche in the grocery store and I already had all of the ingredients that I needed to purchase. I don't think the sour cream detracted from the soup, you can use either.

-1 lb. radishes, halved (3 cups)
-1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
-1 medium white onion, quartered
-1 Tbs. unsalted butter
-3 1/2 cups of water
-⅛ tsp. white pepper
-1 Tbs. prepared horseradish sauce
-2 Tbs. sour cream, plus more for garnish, optional

Process all of the vegetables in the food processor until they are in small pieces. The onion should be done first, then the food processor should be wiped out and the potato and radishes done (this can be put in a bowl together). I did my vegetables in the Magic Bullet in small batches and it turned out fine.

Saute the onions in the bottom of a large pot, until the onions are golden brown.

Add the radishes, potatoes, 3 1/2 cups of water and white pepper.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer covered for thirty minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the horseradish, puree with an immersion blender.
Add some sour cream and puree again.
Season with salt if desired.

Serve with radish greens, radishes and sour cream if desired.

I was a little disappointed in this soup -- it wasn't bad but it was a little flavorless. If you're looking to make this soup I would recommend adding a little garlic into the soup with the onion, or perhaps subbing a little vegetable broth for part of the water. The soup is meant to be a pretty pink so you don't want to ruin that by putting in too much broth, but I think a little broth or a vegetable bouillon cube would let the color to still shine through.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Americana Ice Cream Cupcakes

Happy Memorial Day!! My family hosts a picnic the Sunday before every Memorial Day and my dad wanted me to come up with a dessert recipe to serve the family. The only problem was that J. and I spent the weekend in Sandusky at Becky's lake house and then drove home with only a few hours to spare for a recipe. Enter the ice cream cupcake recipe from Bubbly Nature Creations the cupcakes are adorable and great for summer due to the addition of the ice cream. I adapted this recipe to help it fit my time constraints and my taste.

Other Memorial Day Recipes: Red, White and Blue Sangria.

-Stars and Stripes Funfetti cake mix and the ingredients on the box to make cake
-Cupcake liners
-1/4 cup sprinkles to mix with batter optional

Ice Cream
-3 cups of ice cream of your choice

Whipped Cream Frosting:
-Cool Whip whipped cream frosting

Spoon about a tablespoon of cake mix into the cupcake liner.
Do not do more than that, the cake mix will rise!! You just want a little bit of cake.
You don't want to cook these too long, mine were done after about 8-10 minutes.
I used Stars and Stripes Funfetti for my cake. 
Once the cupcakes have cooled, top with the softened ice cream.
Top with whipped cream frosting and sprinkles right before serving.


These were refreshing and so cute! I really liked that these were small because I served them at a picnic and after you've had a whole plate of food it's nice to enjoy something sweet but small. One problem I did have was that I overfilled the cupcakes before baking them and I ended up with full sized cupcakes -- I think using a tablespoon to measure the batter really alleviates that problem. Overall these were a huge success and perfect for adapting to other holidays or events.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Red, White and Blue Sangria

I always look forward to the summer holidays, because they mean lots of picnics and barbecues, and I always love an excuse to eat outside. Its are also a good chance to make patriotic food and drinks. This is the kind of drink that is great to make for a crowd, and could be made for Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, or really any nice summer day.

This recipe and other holiday themed drinks are on punchbowl.

-Strawberries, sliced
-Pineapple, cut into star shapes
-2 bottles dry white wine
-1 cup Triple Sec
-1/2 cup cherry rum
-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
-1/2 cup agave syrup
Use a cookie cutter or a template to cut the pineapple into stars

Mix all ingredients together.
Chill for at least four hours to let the fruit infuse into the sangria and to allow the fruit to soak up the liquid.

We made this over the weekend at Becky's lake house and left it to sit in the fridge for over 12 hours throughout the day. I think this one gets better with time and can probably be made up to 24 hours ahead of time. This made about 10-12 servings and was a hit with everyone at the party.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Vegetables Pasta Roni

This was more of an easy add in idea rather than a whole recipe on its own, but it was an easy way to turn an easy boxed dinner into a real meal. Pasta-roni is really cheap, and you can make an entire filling meal for a pretty low cost.

-2 boxes pasta roni
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-2 carrots
-3 celery stalks
-1/2 red pepper
-4 garlic cloves

Cut up the carrots and the peppers into small pieces.
Cut the celery and garlic as well.
First cook the carrots and pepper for a few minutes.
Then add the celery, then the garlic a minute before you
are ready to add the pasta.
Add the pasta, sauce packet, and water.
Everything will boil down to a sauce consistency.
It was really good to have fresh vegetables in this pasta. The sauce packet that came with the box was really creamy and worked with the vegetables. Making this with the vegetables didn't take much longer than making the box dinner, but it made it taste much better.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Vanilla Greek Yogurt Souffle

Souffle was recommended to by a friend and I love to make it, however I have a love hate relationship with making meringue. Right now I'm fifty-fifty with making meringues, sometimes it turns out great and sometimes it's a failure. This is a time when my meringue turned out nice and fluffy.

Other souffle recipes: Mini Lemon Souffles

This recipe comes from Jules Food.

-1 cup plain Greek yogurt
-3 large egg yolks
-3 large egg whites
-3 Tbsp AP flour
-1/8 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/8 tsp cream of tarter
-1/4 cup sugar, 
-butter real sugar for ramekins

Preheat your oven to 375.

In a large bowl mix together the Greek yogurt, egg yolks, flour, salt and vanilla.

In a large clean mixing bowl, mix together the eggs whites and cream of tarter until foamy, then slowly add in the sugar while whisking until soft peaks form.
Gently mix a fourth of the meringue with the yogurt mixture.
Then gently fold all of the meringue into the mixture, be gentle because you don't want to lose volume.
Pour the mixture into prepared ramekins which have been greased with butter and rimmed with sugar.
The sugar will help the mixture climb up the sides of the ramekin.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Do not peak in the oven!! The door must stay closed.

Serve immediately. 

This souffle was good, but I thought the sourness of the yogurt was a little overwhelming. I wish that I had used vanilla Greek yogurt rather than plain. The vanilla extract flavor did really come through though, it was subtle, but it was there. The souffle itself was light and airy, creamy and decadent. Overall a success.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Beer Bread

This is a recipe my friend Scott has talked about for a while, so it was great that we finally got to make it. It was simple, we already had all the ingredients, and it tasted really good.

-3 cups flour
-1/3 cup sugar (you can use a bit more or less depending on how sweet you want your bread)
-12 oz beer (a light beer has less of a beer flavor left after the bread has cooked)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Mix the flour and sugar. Add the beer right before
you put it in the oven.
It foamed up a lot, but settled back down.
Butter a bread pan well, and add the batter.
Bake for 50 minutes.
We mixed a small block of velvetta with half a jar
of salsa to make a dip.
Brush the bread with more butter. Bake for 10 more minutes.
Let the bread cool and continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
It should pop out of the pan pretty easily.

I don't really like beer, but this did not have a beer flavor at all, it was a really sweet bread. I would make this again. It was dense so it was good for dipping, and went well with the velvetta salsa.