Tag Archives: ricotta

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Squash Casserole

17 Nov
Italian Sausage Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Squash Casserole

We are in that “it’s hard to find a good vegetable at the store” time of year, so when the hubs asked me to pick up some veggies on my last trip, I settled on a spaghetti squash. After making this, I realized I had forgotten how much I like this beautiful squash! But is sure is a pain in the you-know-what to cut open. Most recipes for this showcase the innards in its lovely yellow shell as the serving container, but after my hack job it getting it open it was best left to throw it in a casserole dish.

Aside from trying not to chop your fingers off cutting the squash in half and getting it baked, this is an easy dinner to prepare. Serve with a salad and garlic bread, and dinner is served!

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Squash Casserole

3-4 pound spaghetti squash
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound hot Italian sausage (mild if preferred)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley (or fresh if you have it)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Carefully cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. Brush with olive oil, then salt and pepper it to taste. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet, and bake for one hour. Let cool until you can handle them, then remove the “spaghetti strands” to a bowl, using a fork. Set aside and reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.

About halfway through the squash cooking time, cook the Italian sausage in a large skillet along with the onions and garlic until the sausage is cooked through. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and stir to combine, then reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile mix together the ricotta, Parmesan and parsley in another bowl.

Once all the players are in place, stir the spaghetti squash into tomato sauce, then pour into a 2-quart oil-sprayed casserole dish. Spread the cheese mixture over top, then the mozzarella. Bake in 350-degree oven for about 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Squash Casserole

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Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

18 Mar
Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

This is a very quick and easy dinner to throw together, especially if you have your favorite homemade spaghetti sauce stashed in the freezer (nevermindthefacthatIjustgotlaidoffanddon’tneedtimesavingrecipesrightnow). And if you make the ricotta in the morning (or even use store-bought) then you are way ahead of the game! And pssst, did you know making your own ricotta is super easy? I sure didn’t!

Prior to my life-changing event on Friday, I was always looking for dinner shortcuts. When I saw my friend Debbie’s post for Baked Pasta with Meatballs and Spinach, I knew it was something I totally wanted to make, but didn’t have the time to bother with making meatballs. So I did the next best thing and used the meatball ingredients as the base for the pasta. In hindsight, if I had made this in my large cast-iron skillet, I could have just popped it straight from the stove top into the oven! (I didn’t have the foresight, but I’m going to remember this for sure next time.)

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta
Adapted from The Mountain Kitchen

2 cups dried pasta (I used Mostaccioli)
8 ounces ground hot Italian sausage
6 ounces baby spinach
Ground pepper, to taste (some red chile flakes would be great too)
4 cups homemade spaghetti sauce, or your favorite jarred
1 cup shredded mozzarella (not bagged variety)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (homemade or store bought)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a large skillet (cast iron if you have one!) until cooked through. Drain any grease, if necessary. Leaving the sausage in the pan, add 1/4 cup water and the spinach, stirring until wilted. Season with ground pepper, to taste.

Sausage and Spinach

Sausage and Spinach

Add the spaghetti sauce to the skillet, combine, and bring to a simmer.

Sauce Mixture

Sauce Mixture

Pour into a large casserole dish (or leave in in the skillet if using cast-iron), then stir in the cooked pasta, half the mozzarella and half the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella and place dollops of the remaining ricotta over top.

Casserole Ready to Bake

Casserole Ready to Bake

Place in oven for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven to broil and cook until golden brown on top, about 5 to 7 more minutes. Serve immediately. WOW, so much flavor for so few ingredients!

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Homemade Ricotta

BONUS! Here’s Debbie’s recipe for Homemade Ricotta:

Homemade Ricotta

4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Add 2 layers of cheesecloth (I used meshed cotton veggie bags) over a sieve or strainer on top of a bowl. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t overboil! Turn off heat and stir in the vinegar or lemon juice and let it sit for a few minutes. Pour the mixture over the cheesecloth and allow it to drain for about 25 minutes. Then place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Store unused cheese in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

29 Oct
One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

This is a soup I’ve wanted to make for ages, and FINALLY got inspired to just do it. Soup? Check. Easy? Check. One pot? Check. One hand? Check, dammit. I get my traction device off in less than two weeks, woohooo! But in this seemingly long entrapment from my injury, I have found that one can be quite resourceful while dealing with a disability. Did you know you can break dried lasagna noodles into even pieces one-handed? Simply place the noodle in a glass bowl then push the edge of the noodle hanging out over the lip of the bowl. Snap! Keep moving it up and snapping off the end. See? Easy-peasy! (Newcomers to this site can read about my injury here.)

My recipe here came from several internet-inspired sources. As always, feel free to adapt, as that is pretty much all I’ve been doing lately. Without further ado…

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground hot Italian sausage
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 cups homemade or low-sodium beef broth, divided
1 24-ounce jar good-quality meatless spaghetti sauce
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
Ground black pepper and salt, to taste
1 bay leaf
10 uncooked dried lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
Fresh Mozzarella slices
Ricotta cheese scoops
Fresh-grated Parmesan cheese

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cook the ground beef, sausage, and onion over medium heat until meats are browned and onion is translucent. Add the garlic and stir for a minute more. Drain grease, if necessary.

Add 4 cups of the beef broth and the rest of the ingredients except the cheeses, stirring to separate the noodles. Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about a half hour until noodles are soft and soup has thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add the remaining two cups of broth, as needed during that time, until soup is desired consistency.

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

Discard bay leaf and add Mozzarella and Ricotta cheeses to the pot, then let sit without stirring until starting to melt. Ladle scoops of soup and melty cheese into bowls and garnish with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with garlic bread and a side salad.  This is good. Really good. We are talking seconds and thirds good. Trust me.

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul’s Spicy Sauce

10 Oct
Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul's Spicy Sauce

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul’s Spicy Sauce

So my back-yard neighbor keeps giving us zucchini and squash from his garden. I swear we are cooking and eating it as fast as we can! He had given us some pattypan squash twice and some other hybrid now, which I’ve used for a side dish both in soup and roasted with potatoes. (I took photos, maybe a future post? Dunno.)

But then we got this GINORMOUS zucchini.

Zucchini Grande

Zucchini Grande

At that point I thought, “OK, it’s time to use this big time in a big pan of lasagna.” Subbing sliced zucchini for lasagna noodles has been around for quite some years, and since I got my cheap-o mandoline slicer last year I decided the zuke would be a perfect use for that big bad-ass zuke. (Ha! I’m getting a bit crass in my 50s, huh?)

Sooo, I wanted to grill the zuke first, because of all the thousand (exaggerated) Pinterest posts about this, they were all saying it came out too watery. But one post caught my eye that grilling the zucchini first worked way better than doing the salting and resting thing.

WELL. That didn’t work out so well. We had run out of propane, and hubby was supposed to get it but he didn’t. So it ended up doing the salting and resting thing. It came out a bit watery, but the taste was AMAZING! I went back for seconds and thirds. I think I want to make a soup out of this instead of a lasagna next time. That way I can have a really thick soup instead of a watery lasagna? What do you think?

This has a super-short ingredient list (for me at least) so it’s sure to please!

Anyways, this is what I did:

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul’s Spicy Sauce

1 very large zucchini
4 cups spaghetti sauce, preferably homemade. (I used Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti sauce >—here.)
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
15 ounces Ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Slice your Big-A zucchini 1/8-inch thin with either a mandoline slicer or a knife. You’ll want enough to cover two-layers in a 9- x 13-inch pan. Lay the slices on racks and lightly salt each side.

Sliced Zucchini

Sliced Zucchini

Let rest for 1/2 hour, then use paper towels to mop up the moisture from the slices. (Alternatively you could dry-roast them on a grill.)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses along with the large egg until combined.

In a 9- x 13-inch pan, spread about a cup of the spaghetti sauce over the bottom.

Layer zucchini slices to cover.

First Layer of Zucchini

First Layer of Zucchini

Now spread half of the Ricotta cheese mixture over them…

First Layer of Cheese Mixture

First Layer of Cheese Mixture

and top with a third of the Mozzarella cheese.

First Layer of Mozzarella

First Layer of Mozzarella

Next spread all the spinach over top…

Spinach Layer

Spinach Layer

and top with 1 1/2 cups sauce.

Spicy Sauce Layer

Spicy Sauce Layer

Repeat the layer of zucchini…

Second Layer of Zucchini

Second Layer of Zucchini

cheese mixture and another third of Mozzarella…

Second Cheese Layer

Second Cheese Layer

and the rest of the sauce.

Second Sauce Layer

Second Sauce Layer

Top with a final layer of Mozzarella.

Lasagna Ready to Bake

Lasagna Ready to Bake

Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna Out of the Oven

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna Out of the Oven

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

 

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

23 Mar

UPDATE! I so apologize to my readers, but I am so thankful for my readers who point out a mistake in my recipe and that they actually take the time to make my recipes! I am humbled!

However, I forgot to include in the instructions to mix the Mozzarella and Parmesan with the spinach and other ingredients. That has now been fixed, both in this post and in the PDF. I apologize for any inconvenience (or lack of taste) this has caused for you. As always, thank you so much for sticking with me on this adventure! XOXO

anotherfoodieblogger

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

If you have some yummy spaghetti sauce on hand and want to make something different than plain ol’ spaghetti, this is a winning recipe! It’s not overly difficult to make (aside from stuffing those pesky shells) and makes a really nice meal that has all your veggies in it!

I pretty much used my recipe for my Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups, but just changed some of the cheese amounts. I feel pretty proud of this recipe, as all the online versions I found for it made anywhere from 24 to 30 shells — way more than I wanted! I went with my gut feeling, and figured 16 shells would do the trick with the amount of stuffing I use for my roll-ups. I was SPOT ON! Woo hoo! I served this with green salad and baked garlic bread. We ate half one…

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Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

21 Mar
Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

If you have some yummy spaghetti sauce on hand and want to make something different than plain ol’ spaghetti, this is a winning recipe! It’s not overly difficult to make (aside from stuffing those pesky shells) and makes a really nice meal that has all your veggies in it!

I pretty much used my recipe for my Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups, but just changed some of the cheese amounts. I feel pretty proud of this recipe, as all the online versions I found for it made anywhere from 24 to 30 shells — way more than I wanted! I went with my gut feeling, and figured 16 shells would do the trick with the amount of stuffing I use for my roll-ups. I was SPOT ON! Woo hoo! I served this with green salad and baked garlic bread. We ate half one night, then finished the other half the next, but you can freeze the leftovers if you want.

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

16 uncooked Jumbo shell pasta
3 cups Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce, or other prepared sauce
1 15-ounce container Ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella (I used a block of low-fat and shredded it with a grater)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 teaspoons minced garlic
10-ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg, beaten
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Additional shredded Mozzarella, for topping

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook the noodles to al dente according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, combine the Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic, spinach, egg, pepper, salt or Mrs. Dash, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Stuffed Pasta Ingredients Ready to Mix

Stuffed Pasta Ingredients Ready to Mix

When the noodles are done, drain the noodles, let cool a bit, then lay them on parchment or wax paper in a single layer.

Cooked Pasta Shells

Cooked Pasta Shells

Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Stuff 1/4 cup or so of the cheese and spinach mixture into each pasta shell and place into the dish.

Stuffed Shells Wanting Sauce and Cheese

Stuffed Shells Wanting Sauce and Cheese

Pour 2 cups of spaghetti sauce over the stuffed shells. Grate additional mozzarella cheese over the top of the shells, then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and turn on the broiler. Broil for about 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Stuffed Shells Ready to Cook

Stuffed Shells Ready to Cook

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a green side salad and garlic bread. You can freeze the remaining shells in Ziploc bags for a quick and easy future meal. My family loved this so much we ate the rest of it up the next day!

p.s. (Please let me indulge you with photos of my daughter’s rose she got at her dance team’s end-of-year potluck celebration! That was a long journey to get through dance season with the football and basketball schedules!)

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese2

Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Mozzarella Rollups

21 May
Spinach-Stuffed Chicken and Mozzarella Rollups

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken and Mozzarella Rollups

My daughter and I were browsing through Pinterest recipes last week looking for dinner ideas. This one immediately caught her eyes and she said “Make THAT ONE for dinner sometime!” So, I did! This came out so purdy and tasted so good — it is even dinner guest-worthy. But what’s even better is it is not that overly difficult to make and can be prepared in just under an hour. You just have to be set to get bread crumbs all over the place if you’re as sloppy a cook as I am!

When I went shopping for the cheese I accidentally bought shredded Parmesan instead of grated.

Shredded Cheese and Bread Crumbs

Shredded Cheese and Bread Crumbs

I really didn’t want to use the fake-shake cheese in a green can that is used in emergencies, so I did the next best thing. I simply put some of the shredded cheese into my Ninja food processor and BAM! Instant grated cheese. I just love that little appliance!

Now on to the recipe:

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Mozzarella Rollups
Adapted from Pinch of Yum Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 4 cups, chopped)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Drizzle of olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
Spray oil
Marinara sauce, for topping
Fresh basil, ribboned, for topping

Slice the chicken in half lengthwise into 4 pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and pound the pieces with a meat mallet until they are about 1/4 inch thin. (I used a smallish cutting board so had to keep moving them over as I pounded each one.) Season both sides with ground black pepper, to taste.

Chicken Pounded Thin and Seasoned

Chicken Pounded Thin and Seasoned

Add the breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl and mix in half the grated Parmesan cheese. (I used the glass lid off one of my Pyrex dishes.) Set all aside.

Grated Cheese and Bread Crumbs

GRATED Cheese and Bread Crumbs ~ Note the Grated Part

Drizzle some olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. Add in the spinach and garlic and saute it for just a few minutes until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and add the spinach to a bowl.

Spinach and Garlic

Spinach and Garlic

Add the ricotta, the rest of the Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg into the bowl with spinach and combine well. Place the rest of the egg in another shallow bowl (or in my case, another glass lid). Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread 1/4 of the spinach-cheese mixture over each of the chicken pieces.

Filling Spread Over Chicken

Filling Spread Over Chicken

Roll one of them up starting with the narrowest end. Gently dip the entire chicken roll in the egg, then gently roll it in the bread crumbs, patting the crumbs into the chicken. Place in a 2-quart baking dish sprayed with oil, seam side down. Repeat process with the other three pieces.

Chicken Rollups Ready to Bake

Chicken Rollups Ready to Bake

Spray the top of the chicken lightly with oil and place in preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes.

While that is all cooking, slice your fresh mozzarella and chop up any salad fixin’s you want on your green salad, if you are serving the dish with that.

Mozzarella and Salad Fixings

Mozzarella and Salad Fixin’s (and the forgotten breadsticks)

Remove from oven, then spoon desired amount of marinara sauce over the chicken. Top each piece with a slice of fresh Mozzarella. Place back in oven and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh ribboned basil.

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken and Mozzarella Rollups

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken and Mozzarella Rollups

Serve with a light green salad and Italian breadsticks or garlic bread. (In our case, we ate the breadsticks AFTER dinner because I forgot to serve them — DOH!) I’ll be making this dish often in our household, as it was fairly easy to make and the flavors are outstanding! And my daughter, who picked out this recipe, really loved it.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

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