Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Now that I'm a mom (I'll never get tired of saying that!), one of my fears is that Landon will grow up to be a picky eater. I hope that's not the case & plan on introducing him to all sorts of interesting dishes. Of course, when it comes to vegetables, I already have one picky eater. The only green vegetable Mike likes is green beans. Forget spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc. But I do try to sneak these in on him when I can...remember the time I added spinach to my chicken parmesan? Anyway, I was watching TV the other day & saw the Sneaky Chef (Country Crock) adding cauliflower to macaroni & cheese. At once I knew that would be the way to get Mike eating this vegetable that I love. I went searching for a recipe and came across this one by Rachael Ray. And he really liked it - enough to eat two helpings. Try this out & let me know what you think.

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 pound whole wheat pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the cauliflower and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the florets with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. In the same boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente then drain in a colander. Add the pasta to the cauliflower.

While the pasta is working, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Have Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk and chicken broth and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese. Whisk in the mustard and season with pepper. Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta and cauliflower. Yum-o!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One Pot Sausage & Peppers

With a new baby in the house, I am really appreciating the ease of one pot and slow cooker meals. I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen, but I still want a hearty meal. This sausage & peppers recipe couldn't be simpler. It's a stove-top version of a slow cooker recipe I found at the McCormick website. I served mine mixed with cheese tortellini, but any type of pasta would work well. Or you could put the pot on the table with a basket of rolls to enjoy hoagie-style.

Sausage & Peppers
1 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbs. EVOO
2 bags frozen pepper & onion medley, thawed*
1 can tomato puree
6 oz. tomato paste
3/4 cup water
One half package McCormick Slow Cooker Italian Herb Chicken Seasoning
Red pepper flakes

Heat EVOO in dutch oven. Add sausage, cooking until browned. Remove from pot & drain on paper towels. Drain grease from pot. Add sausage & pepper/onions back to pot, along with tomato puree, tomato paste, water & seasoning mix. Add red pepper flakes if desired. Stir well & cook over med. heat for about 15 minutes.

*I like to use fresh peppers, but they are ridiculously expensive here right now. I thawed my frozen peppers & onions in a colander lined with paper towels to absorb the moisture.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Grilled Raspberry & Nutella Sandwich

I found this wonderfully delicious sandwich over at Doughmesstic. It's absolutely delicious & so very easy. Slather some bread with Nutella, add some fresh raspberries & prepare just like you would a grilled cheese. Mom & I had these for breakfast yesterday & I fell in's like a little bite of Heaven. If you love Nutella, you will love this sandwich.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pasta Salad

It's such an amazing feeling having a new baby in the house. Our lives have changed completely and we're loving every minute.

My mom is spending a few days with us to help out with Landon. I knew Mike's parents would be dropping by yesterday too, and I wanted something quick and easy for lunch, something that would allow everyone to help themselves. We got a sliced ham, all the makings for sandwiches and I made pasta salad early yesterday morning. It's easy to make and very economical - I had everything I needed on hand.

Pasta Salad
1 lb. box elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions & rinsed in cold water
1 tomato, roughly chopped
1 English cucumber, large dice
1 green pepper, large dice
1 red pepper, large dice
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 bottle Zesty Italian dressing
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine pasta & vegetables, mixing well. Add packet of HVR dressing mix, Italian dressing & sugar, mix well. Allow to chill 2-4 hours before serving.

*Good add-ins would be sliced black olives, diced pepperoni, maybe some cheese.

Coming tomorrow...
Nutella-Raspberry Paninis