Monday, October 29, 2012

Spinach Tortellini in a Creamy Lemon Sauce


For this recipe, you need tortellini, which are little pastas that come with cheese or veggies stuffed inside. If you've never worked with them before, they are wonderful. They can be found in the dry pasta aisle.  If you've got access to a WinCo foods, they can be found with the bulk items, which is much cheaper than buying a pre-packaged bag by the dry pasta.

12 oz. Tortellini
4 oz. bacon (about 4 strips)
3 cloves garlic
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped onion
2 T. flour
2 C. milk
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. red pepper (optional)
1 medium lemon
2 C. roughly chopped, packed spinach
1 C. Mozzarella cheese, grated
1 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

Cooke tortellini according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bacon in a skillet and cook until crisp.  Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel.  Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings and discard the rest.  Add garlic and onion to pan and saute 1-3 minutes. Add flour and stir with a whisk to make a roux.  Slowly add milk and continue to stir until smooth. Add salt, peppers, basil and bring to a simmer
While sauce is simmering, zest the lemon to produce 2 tsp. zest.  Cut the lemon in half and juice.  Add zest and 1 T. juice to the sauce and simmer additional 2-3 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.  Drain tortellini and add the bacon and sauce to the pasta.  Then add the spinach and cheese.  Place in a 9X9 baking dish and bake (covered) for 25-30 minutes.  You can reserve some of the cheese to place on top, if desired. Let sit approx. 10 minutes before serving.    

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cream of Mushroom Soup

I'm not a good soup photographer, so you don't get a picture of this.  I got the recipe from this blog and she is a good soup photographer.  She's even got some pictures of mushrooms on there, just in case you don't know what mushrooms look like.  However, don't follow her recipe. There's way too much of some things and not enough of other things.  I've improved upon it, after making it once, being disappointed and trying to fix it.  

Cream of Mushroom Soup
2-3 cups roughly chopped mushrooms
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 cups chicken stock (or two chicken bullion cubes with 2 cups of water)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. black pepper (or a little more to taste, I'm not a huge fan of pepper)
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. flour
3 T. water
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan.  Add the onion, mushrooms and garlic and saute about 5 minutes.  Add the thyme, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, dissolve the flour in the water.  Stir into soup until it thickens.  Add the milk and cream. Stir for a few minutes to blend and thicken.  We've made this with the chicken meatballs below and it's a nice combination.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chicken Feta Meatballs

I found some ground chicken at the store really, really cheap.  So I bought it having no idea what I'd do with it and it sat in my freezer for a few months.  One day I was taking inventory of the freezer and decided it was time to use it, so I made up this recipe and it ended up being really good.

1 lb. ground chicken
1 egg
2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1/2 a medium onion
1/2 cup loosely packed spinach
1 cup (approx) Feta Cheese

Mince the onion, garlic and mushrooms.  If you have a food processor or a good blender, throw them in and make them into a paste.  Finely chop the spinach. Mix the meat, egg and bread crumbs.  Add the mushroom, garlic, onion and spinach and mix well.  Take a bit of the meat mixture and flatten.  Put a few feta crumbles in the middle and form into a ball (about golf ball sized).  Cover and bake for 30-45 minutes.