Tag Archives: Spinach

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.

Meals from Raiding the Freezer

28 Jan
"And what meal shall I select from the freezer today?"

“And what meal shall I select from the freezer today?”

I’ve been on a self-imposed cooking haitus this week. I decided to scour the freezer for all the leftovers we had stockpiled in there from our snowbound two months, and discovered I had NO LESS than 8 meals in the freezer I decided we should heat up and eat before they were freezer burnt and long forgotten.

I made a list on our fridge white board we usually use for our shopping list, and have been gradually eating them and wiping them off. I can’t help but make meals for 4 to 6 or 8 people (some kind of hangup from growing up in a family of 8), and with my daughter gone most of the time, we simply can’t eat the same meal more than two nights in a row (or sometimes every other night). Many of these just needed a side salad, bread, or veggies/potatoes.

I have compiled for you my freezer list meals, along with links to the recipes for them. (Or similar recipes or part of one, and some are adaptations of prior recipes I’ve posted.) I’ll get back to more recipes and cooking soon! Enjoy!

Lasagna Soup

This freezes really well! Just as good, if not better later with loads more fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

Beef Stroganoff

A classic with a healthy twist. No canned soups! The version in our freezer was a wonderful meal made with shredded cooked beef that my husband made instead of ground beef, but similar concept.

Homemade Ground Beef Stroganoff

Homemade Ground Beef Stroganoff

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Another Italian-based soup recipe that freezes well and gets the same raves as the day you made it!

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Cabbage and Chicken Soup

I made this same type of soup, but used shredded chicken instead of ground beef. Try it, you’ll like it!

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Mexican-Style Beef and Cabbage Soup

Turkey and Turkey Gravy

Traditional roasted turkey leftover from New Year’s dinner, with gravy made from the turkey carcass stock. Here I give you the recipe for the stock.

Turkey Carcass Stock

Turkey Carcass Stock

White Chicken Chili

One of our favorite winter comfort foods. I know it’s many of my friend’s favorite too! I used white beans instead of black beans for the leftovers in the freezer but I’ve posted both versions before, but this one has the printable PDF.

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Creamy Chicken Chili and Beans

Sous Vide Meatloaf with Bacon

I made this with a several pieces of ground up uncooked bacon in it and cooked via the sous vide method. Wow, talk about a flavor bomb! I am linking up to Conor Bofin’s recipe, as his inspired me to make my mom’s meatloaf with bacon and sous vide method. I did not write my own post about it.

Mom's Meatloaf

Mom’s Meatloaf

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Well I know I just posted this, but it IS in the freezer and we need to finish it. Just two small lunch-sized servings left. 🙂

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

21 Jan
Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

We survived the Snowmaggedon/Snowcapolypse where I live, where over 60 inches of snow has dumped on us in the past month and a half, an event that hasn’t happened here since 1901 according to records.

Snowmaggedon

Snowmaggedon ~ A friend joked this looked like a bunch of pregnant woman got snowed on while sitting around our firepit. Those were empty chairs before the snow.

We had a near tragedy, where a school’s gym roof collapsed entirely, but overnight when thank goodness nobody occupied it. In the morning it is usually teeming with kids waiting for the school bell to ring. It wasn’t discovered until all the kids had boarded buses for school, so all parents were notified to pick up their children immediately at all schools in town. Schools were closed for 8 days after that until all snow was removed from 38 school roofs (9 million square feet) and structures inspected and deemed safe. Whew! Dodged the bullet on that one!

Snow or no snow, we certainly had to eat during this event, and here is one of the recipes I came up with during our snowbound days with what I had on hand. This is a thumbs-up recipe from the hubby, yay! My only regret is not making more sauce, so I’ve adjusted the recipe below for that. I served this over cooked rice. Nummy and warming!

Spicy Chicken Florentine

For the casserole:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
16-ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 cup dry good-quality sherry (or chicken broth)
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup grated block cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated block Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the chicken breast thin, and season with the pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash.

Fileted and Seasoned Chicken

Fileted and Seasoned Chicken

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and half the garlic and sear the chicken filets on each side until browned. Remove and set aside.

Browned Chicken

Browned Chicken

Add the drained tomatoes to the skillet along with rest of the garlic and simmer for a few minutes. Pour the tomatoes and garlic in the bottom of an oil-sprayed two-quart casserole.

Tomatoes and Garlic

Tomatoes and Garlic

To the skillet, add the spinach and the rest of the butter plus a large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir until butter is melted and spinach is heated through and incorporated. Layer on top of the tomatoes.

Spinach and Tomatoes

Spinach and Tomatoes

Next layer the chicken on top of the spinach.

Chicken Layer

Chicken Layer

For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, mustard powder, and white pepper, whisking until a paste forms. Pour in the milk and sherry or chicken broth, whisking constantly. Simmer over gentle heat while stirring until the sauce is to desired consistency. Pour the sauce evenly over the casserole.

Casserole Ready to Bake

Casserole Ready to Bake

Sprinkle the grated cheeses over the dish, then top with the Panko breadcrumbs. Bake for about 20 minutes, until casserole is heated through and top is browned and crispy. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Spicy Chicken Florentine

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

10 Dec
Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

This soup has keeper written all over it! (Plus my hubby told me so.) I made this soup a couple of weeks ago, and the only photo I took while making it was from my iPhone, so sorry for the lack of prep photos. But who needs them when this is so quick and easy to make? You can easily have this on the table in less than 30 minutes. This soup is full of flavor, and hearty and filling enough to satisfy even the hungriest of eaters.

Smoked Sausage and Tortellini Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package smoked sausage, cut into slices
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
4 cups turkey or chicken stock
1 9-ounce package fresh cheese tortellini
Ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the smoked sausage and onion until sausages have slightly browned and onions are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic in the last minute.

Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, turkey or chicken stock, tortellini, and pepper and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, then stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

17 Sep
Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

So I have this friend who has a food blog in this far distant place called Ireland. He recently posted a recipe about some rare, free-range organic pork that can only be found in that special place of the world, and he did a fine job with it! But, today, I am here to tell you about how to cook cheap, non-free-range odd cuts of pork into a delicious meal, which doesn’t require trips to specialty breed organic farmers, meat butchers, and the like. (No offense Conor! 😉 To make amends, I shall lead others to your epic blog —> HERE.)

What I have here are two distinctly generic cuts of pork, one a thick bone-in pork loin, the other, two small thin slices of pork chops. Both of which were purchased then frozen from the 50% off bin. GASP! However, I am a frugal shopper when I want to be.

Non-Free-Range nor Rare Pork Cuts

Non-Free-Range nor Rare Pork Cuts

I adapted this recipe from my Braised Chicken in Milk recipe. Low and slow is the way to go my friends! I selected to eat (after cooking) the thin chops, which I chose to bundle together first to match the pork loin thickness. They were perfectly moist and delicious, as well as a bite I took from my husband’s pork loin was equally moist and tender. However, my husband swears one can never cook a moist and tender pork and even balked at his piece. Nay-sayer! But let me tell you, I will prove him wrong once I buy a sous-vide machine, which is happening in the very near future. I know I keep telling my foodie friends that, but I have to put this nonsense to bed that pork can’t ever be tender. So there.

Now, on to the recipe, which is fantastic (and simple) in my humble opinion.

Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

3/4 to 1-1/2 pounds pork cuts, even thickness, any kind
Ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
1 tablespoon real butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup homemade or low sodium chick broth/stock
1 cinnamon stick
Handful of fresh sage
Zest/skin of a large lemon, peeled in thick strips
Handful of garlic cloves, smashed
1-1/2 cups Half and Half or Heavy Cream, plus 1/2 to 1 cup more if needed
4 to 6-ounces fresh spinach

The Ubiquitous Ingredients Shot

The Ubiquitous Ingredients Shot

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Season the pork all over with ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste. Add butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven and brown on both sides.

Browning the Inferior Pork

Browning the Inferior Pork

Remove from the heat then put the pork on a plate to rest. Deglaze the skillet or pot with the chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits. Add the rest of the ingredients back to the skillet except pork and spinach and stir until simmering.

Bringing Lovely Sauce up to Simmer

Bringing Lovely Sauce up to Simmer

Nestle the pork into the sauce and place in the preheated oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Ready to Bake in Oven

Ready to Bake in Oven

Turn the pork over and stir the sauce half-way through the cooking time.

When done, remove from oven and remove the pork to a plate and cover to rest again. Add the skillet to the stove burner over low heat, then add spinach, and add 1/2 cup to 1 more cup of Half and Half or cream, if needed. Stir until the spinach is wilted and the sauce has thickened and is bubbling. Don’t worry about any curdling, it’s supposed to do that.

Simmering the Sauce and Wilting the Spinach

Simmering the Sauce and Wilting the Spinach

Remove cinnamon stick and lemon rinds from sauce, and garlic cloves if you want but they are yummy! Serve the pork over the spinach on warmed plates, with plenty of extra sauce to coat.

Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

Grated Heirloom Tomato and Shrimp Pasta

27 Aug
Grated Heirloom Tomato and Shrimp Pasta

Grated Heirloom Tomato and Shrimp Pasta

My good WP and FB friend Kat shared a video a couple of weeks ago of how to make a fresh box grater tomato sauce, and with a garden full of ripening tomatoes I knew I would be making a fresh-grated tomato sauce in the immediate future.

Hanging Tomato Plants

Hanging Tomato Plants

And of course I had to add shrimp, as my hubby and I are really enjoying our lack of daughter’s presence for dinners this summer so that we can eat this scrumptious shellfish, which is the ONLY seafood she doesn’t like.

The tomatoes in our garden are really small this year, so I didn’t even bother to slice them in half before grating. I just trimmed a tiny slice off the top, then grated away! I am sold on this method of preparing tomatoes for a sauce. Since I was planning on adding shrimp to this, I gussied everything up and cooked it for a short spell so that the shrimp would have a delicious sauce to simmer in.

Fresh Picked Heirloom Tomatoes

Fresh Picked Heirloom Tomatoes

My husband said I should put a tomato meter rating on my recipes, like the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes does, lol. With that, we give this recipe 5 ripe tomatoes! (Note: This recipe feeds two. Feel free to double as necessary.)

So what am I waiting for?! Here is the recipe:

Grated Heirloom Tomato and Shrimp Pasta

4 ounces dry Linguine or other pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
Large splash of good white wine
Enough tomatoes for 1 cup grated sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt or Mrs. Dash and ground black pepper, to taste
Large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Shrimp and Pasta Dish Ingredients

Shrimp and Pasta Dish Ingredients

Cook pasta according to package directions. When done, reserve about a half cup of liquid, then drain and return to pot, cover and keep warm on lowest setting. Add small splashes of reserved pasta water and stir occasionally to keep it from sticking while preparing the rest of the dish.

While pasta is cooking, slice a small piece off the top of each tomato and grate flat-handed on a box grater down to the skin. Grate enough tomatoes for 1 cup of sauce.

Grated Tomatoes and Such

Grated Tomatoes and Such

Add half the oil to a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic for a minute more then add in a splash of wine. Add the rest of the oil, the grated tomato sauce, oregano, basil, and seasonings. Bring to a low simmer.

Simmering Fresh Tomato Sauce

Simmering Fresh Tomato Sauce

Nestle the shrimp into the sauce and cook for a few minutes, then flip over with tongs and cook for a few more until almost done. Last, add the chopped spinach, and simmer until wilted and shrimp are just cooked through.

Shrimp and Spinach Added to Sauce

Shrimp and Spinach Added to Sauce

Stir in the cooked pasta and additional reserved water until desired consistency. Serve on plates with a side salad and/or rustic bread.

Cooked Pasta Added to Sauce

Cooked Pasta Added to Sauce

Note how I did NOT add any cheese to this, as apparently the European world eschews cheese on seafood so I followed suit. I did not miss the cheese at all! I must say, this is the brightest, freshest tomato sauce I have ever tasted.

Oh! And if you want to see the referenced video, here it is: How to Make Fresh Tomato Sauce | Food and Wine

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Spinach and Feta Cheese Steak Rollups

27 Feb
Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

How on earth does my mind come up with something like this? Just out of the blue! I guess I’m just getting used to “making do” with what I have in the house as I loathe shopping of any kind. Just ask my family. I really do hate shopping.

But what I do really like is coming up with some crazy idea for dinner and think yeah, the family will like this. But then when the family not only likes it, they LOVE it, I’m pretty darned happy. Even before this was finished cooking, my hubby said, “You know we can always order pizza if it isn’t good.” See, he DID have his doubts!

But doubt no more.

Oh shoot, a back story to the salted steak first. (Many of  my long-term readers know hubby is on a low-salt diet.) And a video, but you don’t have to watch it.

So somehow I came across a poor man’s video guide on the interwebz to make any tough meat tender. So, here is the video (sorry if you have to watch an ad first):

Watch here —> Poor Man’s Filet Mignon

And I also happened to watch it with hubby a few days before I made this. THEN (even with a little less now than a quarter cow in the freezer) I picked up some thin-sliced eye of round from the 50% off bin. I am a sucker for meat deals. Of course I froze it immediately. When I told hubby I brought home some store-bought beef and that it was a very tough cut, he actually got excited instead of rolling his eyes. He wanted us to test out this meat tenderizing trick.

Now, let me present to you my riff on a beef rollup stuffed with all kinds of yum. I would have liked to grill this, but it was freezing outside. Make note to cook this again on the grill when the weather is better. And yes, it came out very tender, more so than I expected! (And p.s. the family loved these!)

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

For the steak glaze:

Splash of olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 sprig fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried leaves
1/2 cup beef broth, preferably homemade

For the steak rollups

3/4 pound thin-sliced eye of round or any other thin-sliced steak (8 to 10 slices)
Coarse sea salt
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 ounces crumble Feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil or other high-heat tolerant neutral oil

Salting the Beef

Salting the Beef

If you have a tough cut of beef, follow the method in the video. But if you don’t want to watch it, basically add some course sea salt to the top of the steak and let it sit on the counter for 1 hour for every inch. This steak was so thin we did less than 10 minutes. But even in that short time I could see the steak sweating out and breaking up the fibers! Then you rinse the steak thoroughly of the salt. Pat dry and set aside ready for the stuffing.

But meanwhile you can make the steak glaze.

Making the Steak Glaze

Making the Steak Glaze

Add a splash of oil to a saucepan or skillet over medium heat and cook garlic until fragrant, just a minute or so. Add the rest of the glaze ingredients and cook and stir until reduced by about half. Remove rosemary sprig if not using dried. Take off heat and set aside.

Spinach and Feta Cheese Stuffing

Spinach and Feta Cheese Stuffing

Next, take your thawed and squeezed-dry spinach (you did that already, right?) and add to a bowl along with the Feta cheese, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice and mix until thoroughly combined.

Glazed Steaks

Glazed Steaks

Brush the steak slices with the glaze with a pastry brush, (if you used dried rosemary, don’t worry as it just gets stuck in the brush anyways).

Adding the Spinach Stuffing

Adding the Spinach Stuffing

Grind a bunch of black pepper over the steaks. Top the steak slices evenly with the spinach mixture. Roll up and secure with twine or toothpicks. I found twine to be convenient since I wasn’t grilling.

Brush any remaining steak glaze you have over the rollups. Grind more black pepper over them again, to taste. I am kind of a ground black pepper freak.

Rolled and Stuffed Steaks

Rolled and Stuffed Steaks

Heat a large cast iron or heavy bottom skillet over very high heat with two teaspoons of neutral high-heat oil. With tongs, add the rollups (in batches if needed) to the skillet and cook on all sides until browned. Just a minute or two on each side, rolling often. Remove to a plate and serve with a side vegetable of choice. I chose steamed asparagus. I suppose some kind of bread could be in order but I’m trying to lose weight. 🙂 Happy dining!

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

16 Jan
Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Flavor bombs, I tell you, and it’s no joke when I say these are da’ bomb! These large puppies are not only packed with flavor, they are the size of small cannon balls. I was searching the interwebz for something to make with my half-priced pound of ground turkey I found in the Reduce for Immediate Sale bin at the grocery, and came across several recipes for ground turkey meatballs. The thing is, I didn’t have all the ingredients for any single one, so did was I always do. I printed them all out, and mish-mashed them together to come up with this.

BONUS: Earlier in the week I had made some homemade croutons from roasted garlic-infused olive oil and grated Parmesan. I used leftover bread I took home from our company party.

Making Homemade Croutons

Making Homemade Croutons

Gosh aren’t they lovely?

Homemade Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Croutons

Homemade Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Croutons

They ground up in my Ninja perfectly to use as a binder for the meatballs. Keeping the roasted garlic theme in mind, I did a quick roast of three large cloves of garlic in my toaster oven for 20 minutes.

SECOND BONUS: The night before I had made a huge batch of our favorite side dish to go with whatever the heck meat we had (See I love these so much that I can’t even remember what I ate with them as in my mind they are the star of any meal.) I had plenty of this rosemary bliss to serve with the meatballs, so of course I carried the rosemary theme through to the meatballs. Recipe here ——–> Rosemary and Butter Red Potatoes and Green Beans.

Buttered Rosemary Red Potatoes and Green Beans

Buttered Rosemary Red Potatoes and Green Beans

UN-BONUS: Sometimes my math isn’t so good. I was trying to figure out how long to set the timer so I could take the meatballs out of the oven about 5 minutes before they were done to zest some Parmesan over the top of them. I usually cook meatloaf about an hour, but figured I would check them with an instant-read thermometer at 30 minutes. So. I set the timer for 40 minutes. Why? I have no clue. Slightly on the dry side, but the spinach did help a lot with keeping them from being a disaster. The pan juices in the casserole dish poured over was also a perfect remedy.

Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Baked Spinach, Garlic, and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

3 large cloves garlic, peels left on
1/4 cup bread crumbs (from flavored croutons if you have them, or make your own!)
1/4 cup finely minced onion (I used the same Ninja that I ground up the breadcrumbs in)
1 pound ground turkey
8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon dried, crushed rosemary (I crush the dried leaves with a mortar and pestle)
Pinch of dried thyme
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Ground black pepper, to taste

Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and roast for 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven (toaster oven is more economical). Remove and let cool, then peel and mince.

Meanwhile, process the croutons into bread crumbs, remove, then process the onion into a fine mince. (Store-bought bread crumbs are fine, as well as mincing your own onion with a knife.)

Processing the Croutons into Bread Crumbs

Processing the Croutons into Bread Crumbs

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and get ready to mess up your hands. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients using both hands.

Ground Turkey Meatball Ingredients

Ground Turkey Meatball Ingredients

When completely combined, scoop out a large handful and roll around in your hands and shape into the size of a large golf ball or small tennis ball. (What is that size? A rubber squash ball?) Either way, you should end up with six fairly same-sized meatballs.

Turkey Meatballs Ready to Bake

Turkey Meatballs Ready to Bake

Place the meatballs in a small oil-sprayed baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes (not 40 please) or until an instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Remove foil then grate some fresh Parmesan cheese over top. Cook for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve immediately with any sides of choice.

Baked Spinach Garlic and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Baked Spinach Garlic and Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

14 Nov
Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

I probably sound like a broken record, but I LOVE SOUP SEASON! A few weeks ago I grabbed the rest of the beef marrow bones out of the freezer and decided to make a huge pot of beef bone soup stock. We have a new quarter side of beef on the way for our freezer and it was way past due to finish using those up.

Beef Bone Stock

Beef Bone Stock

After that task was accomplished, of course I had to make some soup out of that rich, golden broth. Our grass-fed ground beef from last year was long gone, but my hubby bought a fancy electric meat grinder and he ground up a bunch of chuck and made 3/4-pound bags for the freezer. That amount makes so much more sense for our family than a pound since there are only three of us.

Also out of the freezer came some frozen tomatoes from our harvest. All I had to do was run hot water over them and the skins slipped right off!

Armed with these ingredients, I set off to make some soup. I cobbled together more ingredients out of the pantry and fridge (including some almost expired fresh spinach) and this is what I came up with:

Ground Beef and Lentil Soup Ingredients

Ground Beef and Lentil Soup Ingredients

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups crushed tomatoes with liquid (or a 14.5-ounce can)
4 cups low-sodium beef broth, preferably homemade
1 cup dry green lentils
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Large handful fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Ground Beef and Veggies

Ground Beef and Veggies

Add the ground beef, onion, carrots, and celery in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. In this case I used my pressure cooker pot. (Stay tuned, confession time coming!) Cook over medium heat and stir until meat is brown and vegetables are starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Next add the tomatoes (I crushed them with my hands when adding them) plus the liquid, the beef broth, lentils, oregano, and sugar. (The small amount of sugar offsets the acidity in the tomatoes.) Stir to combine.

Soup Ingredients Ready to Finish Cooking

Soup Ingredients Ready to Finish Cooking

CONFESSION TIME: At this point, I honestly do not remember if I actually pressure cooked this or just finished simmering uncovered. Really! I know I used my pressure cooker pot from the photos. Did I use it because I intended on pressure cooking the lentils, or did I use it because all my other large pots were used up from making the beef stock earlier in the day? This was only a few weekends ago! Please don’t laugh at me, laugh WITH me!

Nonetheless, either pressure-cook this for 20 minutes, or simmer it uncovered for about an hour. After the lentils are soft, add in the chopped spinach and stir until wilted.

Chopped Spinach Added

Chopped Spinach Added

Taste test, then add sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. I thought the soup needed just a tad more flavor boost, so added a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. Perfect. Soup’s on! Serve with crusty bread.

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

Ground Beef and Green Lentil 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!

 

 

 

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