Monday, July 18, 2011

Penne Alla "Not-ka"

Penne Alla "Not-ka"

Serves 4
Calories per serving: 371

2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for serving
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes in juice, pureed in a food processor
Pinch red pepper flakes
8 ounces penne
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons evaporated nonfat milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the penne.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the 2 teaspoons oil with the garlic over low heat until the garlic begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook until the onion is softened, about 2 more minutes. Add the tomato, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer very gently 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and evaporated milk and simmer 1 more minute.

3. Meanwhile, after the sauce has cooked 5 minutes, add the penne to the boiling water and cook until just shy of al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup pasta water. Add the drained penne to the saucepan and simmer until the penne is al dente, 1 to 2 minutes, adding a little of the pasta cooking water if the mixture is dry. Stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, along with the basil and black pepper.

4. To serve, divide pasta among 4 serving bowls. Drizzle each serving with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

-You NEED to make this recipe. It's THAT good. I'm thinking this will become a once a week frequency in this house. I've made it a few times now, once when my two friends Audrey and Katie came over! Of course the one time I made it for someone other than the hubs, I didn't have the right ingredients! I only had tomato puree/sauce rather than diced tomatoes. You may think- Aim, it's the same thing. In a way, yes...but the consistency was off.

-I bought garlic ciabatta rolls/bread today for a $1 (!) to go with it and a salad. You definitely need bread of some sorts as the sauce is running and SCREAMS to be sopped up with garlic bread!

-I've started doubling this as the hubs has requested more leftovers!

-To get more legit, I am going to start researching the correct ways to do things with cooking. I went to a cooking class in Charlottesville before Christmas and learned a LOT. It was a cooking class on the food from the movie Eat, Pray, Love. If anyone wants recipes, let me know! Anyways... I learned about mise en place, which is French for "putting in place." The instructor said it was German, but Wikipedia says French...who to believe?!!?? Anyways, it's the process of preparing all your ingredients ahead of time before starting to cook. Like they do on Food Network and the Cooking Channel.

I bought these adorable nesting bowls awhile back at (where else?) TJMaxx:

So, I went about prepping!

This does take time to do, but it's totally worth it. Even if not for convenience, you do feel like a chef on tv!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies

Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies

2/3 cup butter
2 cups quick oats
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup light or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups (11.5oz package) Nestle Toll House Milk Chocolate Morsels

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheets with foil.

2. Melt butter in medium saucepan; remove from heat. Stir in oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla extract and salt; mix well. Drop by level teaspoon, about 3 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Spread thinly with rubber spatula.

3. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on baking sheets on wire racks. Peel foil from cookies.

4. Microwave morsels in medium, uncovered microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute. Stir. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10-15 second intervals, stirring just until the morsels are melted. Spread thin layer of melted chocolate onto flat side of one cookie, on half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies.

Makes about 3 ½ dozen sandwich cookies.

Turkey Mini-Meatloaves

A few months back my mother in law told me about this show called 'Cook Yourself Thin,' so I investigated. They basically take someone's 3 favorite foods, total up the calories they are ingesting eating them, and remake them healthier, showing the new calorie intake. I immediately downloaded all the shows on iTunes and went to work watching them. I have made a few of their recipes so far, the best being the 'Penne Alla Not-ka', and haven't been disappointed yet! There's also a cookbook out, 2 actually. The original is the recipes (and more) from the show. The second book hasn't inspired me to make anything out of it yet. Maybe someday...

Well, here's what I made out of it for dinner last night:

Turkey Mini-Meatloaves
Serves 4
Calories per serving, meatloaves: 227

For the meatloaves
1 slice whole-wheat bread
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
5-ounce bag baby spinach leaves
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the glaze
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Grind the bread in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a large bowl, and pour milk over crumbs.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Add spinach, and stir until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with soaked crumbs. Add the turkey, cheese, egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Combine the mixture with your hands until well mixed; it will be quite wet.

4. Pack 1 cup of the mixture into a 1-cup dry measuring cup. Invert the cup onto a rimmed baking sheet, gently shaking the cup to release the mixture. Gently pat the mound to smooth its shape. Repeat three times with remaining mixture. In a small bowl combine the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Brush over meatloaves.
Bake mini meatloaves until cooked through and golden, about 40 minutes.

-On the show they use a piece of day old bread and rip it into pieces, they don't make bread crumbs. My bread was fresh, so I just toasted it twice. Same effect... smells marvelous.

-Again, on the show...they used brown sugar instead of Worcestershire sauce, which I didn't realize, so I added the brown sugar and it was a hit! You may want to double the glaze, which I will do next time, to spoon some over when serving.

-I meant to serve this with roasted root veggies: potatoes, carrots and asparagus, but the 2 potatoes I had left were bad. BOO! So I improvised and used Ready Rice that I had bought awhile back with a coupon. I used 2 white rice ones and a brown rice with a tablespoon of butter and a sprinkling of salt. Oh, and steamed broccoli with vinegar and a big salad. YUM. It was a huge hit with the hubs!