Thursday, June 21, 2012

Italian Sausage and Vegetables

I wanted to make chicken salad today since it was so hot out. After rummaging around in the freezer, I have no boneless chicken. Not sure how that happened! Instead, I found some Italian sausage. I had a zucchini left from the last trip to the farmer's market and some mushrooms leftover from something I made the other day. I threw it all together with some other things I had around and it made a wonderful, easy dinner with lots of good flavors.

Italian Sausage and Vegetables
serves 4

4 Italian sausage links, casing removed
4 oz. mushrooms
1 zucchini
1 onion
1 red bell pepper
Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese 

Cut all the vegetables into similar sized chunky dice. In a large skillet cook the sausage, breaking it up into smallish pieces. When it's mostly cooked add all the veggies. You may need to add a bit of oil. Stir to mix and cook for about 10 minutes until the sausage is cooked through and the veggies are softened, with some browned parts. Season with about 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Black Bean and Corn Salad

I've been looking for a good black bean and corn salad and found this one yesterday. We had family over for dinner and I was making tacos but wanted some sort of side to go with them. This is super fast (it should be, it's from Rachael Ray) and easy. It's also made with things I usually have on hand so I can make it just about anytime.

Black Bean and Corn Salad
modified from Rachael Ray

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 c frozen corn kernels
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp hot sauce
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
small handful cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes at room temperature for corn to fully defrost and flavors to combine, then toss and serve. Can also be made further ahead and put in the fridge; let come to room temp and toss before serving.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Having a menu plan last week worked out great! Haven't had time to make up one for this week yet and it's going to be a crazy busy start to the week. We all decided these Mexican stuffed shells were great, a nice twist on the traditional stuffed shells. I just need to remember to get mild salsa and taco sauce for my non-heat loving hubby! I think I got medium salsa and mild taco sauce and it might have been a touch too hot for Bob but the rest of us enjoyed it. Serve this with an iceberg lettuce/tomato salad on the side.

Mexican Stuffed Shells
serves 4-5

1 lb. ground beef
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
salt to taste
1 c tomato sauce
4 oz cream cheese
14-16 jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 c salsa
1 c taco sauce
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c shredded monterey jack cheese
3 green onions
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350*.

Cook the pasta shells according to directions, drain. Meanwhile, in a skillet cook ground beef; add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander and salt to taste. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds then add the tomato sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside to cool.

Pour salsa on bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells in the pan, open side up. Cover shells with taco sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add shredded cheeses and bake for 10-15 more minutes with foil removed. Top with green onions and serve with sour cream and/or more salsa.

Note: You can replace the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and tomato sauce with a package of low-sodium taco seasoning and prepare the meat according to the package directions.

Modified from The Way to His Heart...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sesame Ginger Chicken Pasta

Yum! I got this from my cousin's wife's blog. It was easy, tasted very much like Chinese food, and was enjoyed by everyone. Next time I might add some steamed broccoli to it to make it a full meal in a dish.

Sesame Ginger Chicken Pasta
serves 6

1/2 c vegetable oil
1/3 c light soy sauce
1/4 c rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1/4 c sesame seeds
1-16 oz package rotini pasta
1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 c sliced green onion

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, and pepper. Shake well and set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds and cook, stirring frequently until lightly toasted (keep a close eye on them, they go from lightly toasted to burned quickly!). Remove from heat and set aside. In the same skillet, cook chicken until browned and cooked through. Give the dressing another shake and add to the chicken; cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken to the pasta and toss with the sesame seeds, green onions, and cilantro to coat everything evenly.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sausages and White Beans

Another favorite that I haven't made in a while, it's also super easy and pretty quick to make. This was Rosie Jane approved tonight, she said it was one of her favorites. A recipe from my 365 Easy Italian Recipes cookbook.

Sausages and White Beans
serves 6

1 1/2 lbs lightly spiced sausage, such as luganega, cut into 2-inch pieces (I use sweet Italian sausage)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 c chopped carrot
1 c chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 16-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste

In a nonreactive Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, turning, 5 minutes or until lightly browned all over. Add carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 25-30 minutes, or until sausage is cooked through. Add white beans and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Menu plan

Yep, I've actually got a menu plan for this week. I'll go to the grocery store tomorrow so I can actually follow my plan.

Monday we're having Sausages and White Beans with bread. I've made this many times before and we really enjoy it. The bread I got at the farmer's market this morning.

Tuesday is a new recipe from my cousin's wife (cousin-in-law?). It's Sesame Ginger Chicken Pasta; she said it was good, we'll find out. If there's any bread left, we'll have it on the side.

Wednesday we're going out to Famous Dave's BBQ, it's a fundraiser for our church's mission team. I know the family will enjoy the ribs and other bbq delights there.

Thursday is a new recipe I found on pinterest - Mexican Stuffed Shells. I figured it's supposed to cool down later in the week so I won't mind having the oven on then.

Friday is Pizza Pockets. I was cleaning off some stuff from the DVR this afternoon and watched "The Sandwich King" episode from a while back and he made these. They looked good, really easy, and since we usually have pizza on Friday nights, it works.

I don't usually plan breakfasts or lunches, but we have plenty of stuff on hand for those meals. I haven't thought of next weekend yet, what we eat depends on what we're doing and the weather. I'll put up new recipes if they're keepers.