It’s no secret that I love Cooking Light, well I’m obsessed with all of the food magazines I’ll admit, but I love that Cooking Light can still throw a mean punch even with one hand tied behind it’s back. While others can lean on butter, tons of cheese, fatty meats etc, Cooking Light has to bring flavor AND nutrition to the table and this Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna recipe is perfect example of how they can nail it. KAPOW!
Our little one was still sick and had actually gotten worse (cursed daycare!) and while she was screaming and yelling, I still wanted to get a home cooked meal on the table for us both. You need something to keep your strength up right? When I looked up what I had chosen for the night, I sighed loudly and thought about making something else given that we have a screaming kiddo and lasagna can take time and patience, both things I was running very short on at the moment. However, and maybe it was the heat of the moment, the lack of sleep or both, I whizzed through this recipe in no time. It was in the oven and done and what felt like five minutes later my husband and were gobbling this up. I’m not a ricotta fan at all and really shy away from lasagna at most places for this reason, but, because Cooking Light can’t put in too much ricotta this recipe was right up my alley. It’s a very different take on lasagna and to me (and David) it was just perfect. So perfect that even I went back for seconds which is something I rarely do since I want to get to my dark chocolate after-dinner treat as soon as I can.
Once we were done hoovering our food, we looked up at each other, bleary eyed and covered in who knows what of bodily fluids (I never knew so much snot could come out of something so small), holding hands we went back to her room to check on our little sick one. I have to say, I have a whole new appreciation for my parents, and any parents for that matter, now!
Typically through my menu planning process, I go through pretty much everything I purchase if not in the first week, then definitely in the next. But there are those rare occasions were the beckoning of a Polvo’s Crackerita is too strong or I’m just too darned tired to cook after baking in the kitchen. I decided to check my pantry for these rare occasion relics that might be lurking in my pantry and found cream of mushroom soup, piquillo peppers in a jar and canned whole cranberries. As I sat trying to remember what recipes these ingredients were for originally, I started researching some new fun ones to try and voila lambs, I found two!
Bobby Flay’s Loin of Lamb Marinated in Merlot, Garlic and Parsley with Piquillo Pesto. Now I didn’t change much except for, well, the main protein. We are on a tight budget after all the wedding festivities so I turned to my most favorite, cost-effective cut of meat – flank steak. It’s juicy, flavorful and worked beautifully with this marinade. Talk about simple and quick. I marinated the steak, made the pesto (in our new food processor, yippee!!) and then when David got home, I threw the steak on the grill and bam dinner was done. I turned this into a small salad with arugula, bleu cheese, halved cherry tomatoes and then placed the steak on the greens and drizzled the pesto on top. I also had enough pesto the next day to make David a snack with pita chips. Am I getting good wife points yet?
Moving on to the cranberries. I found this Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa from Cooking Light…yum! Keep this one in mind for the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays for sure. Although I substituted
rotisserie chicken for turkey, what really makes it is the salsa. I can see canning this and giving it as pretty holiday gifts or it would even be great over some baked brie or on an old shoe, seriously it’s really good. I made extra and now we both have quesadillas and cranberry salsa for lunch today. YAY!
Now, what the heck am I going to do with that Cream of Mushroom soup?
Ah Sriracha sauce, what a fiery little condiment you are. I don’t know how you came to be so popular these days, but I’m certainly happy you did. I’ve enjoyed you mixed in with mayonnaise to make a spicy dip, on Bahn Mi sandwiches and as an added kick in some of my favorite Asian soups. But in meatballs and marinara sauce? Me thinks not. For those of you who enjoy Sriarcha you know this packs a spicy punch that hits your palette and fades away so you are not writhing in pain. Everyday Food has a whole section dedicated to Sriracha in their January/February 2011 issue including recipes such as meatballs and marinara, potstickers and chicken wings. According to the magazine: The sweet and spicy blend of red chiles, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar is named after the seaside town of Sriracha (SIR-rotch-ah) in Thailand…The California-based company Huy Fong Foods makes most of the Sriracha sauce sold in the U.S. It’s rooster logo earned it the nickname “rooster sauce.”
It was a tough choice, but I decided to make the Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs dish. The only thing I had to substitute was very lean ground beef for pork, otherwise I followed this exactly and it was killer. Killer because it tasted good and because it was SPICY. I think as a young child growing up in Texas I gravitated towards anything spicy and now my tolerance level is starting to fade rapidly. There might have been some perspiration, mouthbreathing and sinus clearing during and after eating this but I still loved it, and yes it faded away as quickly as it came. What a unique take on pasta and marinara sauce! We really loved the flavor of the meatballs and how they held their shape beautifully. I think broiling in the oven really helped. I can’t find the recipe online so here you go. If you like spice you will LOVE this!
Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs, Everyday Food, January/February 2011
½ cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped, for serving
Heat broiler, with rack in top position. Place pork, turkey, spinach, breadcrumbs, egg whites, oregano, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. With your hands, mix to combine; roll into forty 1-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil until golden brown, 10 minutes, rotating halfway through.
In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and Sriracha and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs and simmer 10 minutes.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta, add to pot with sauce and meatball, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Everything I’ve tested and tasted this week has been pretty good but not really C.I.T.L material if you know what I mean – until last night. I spotted this Sausage and Caramalized Onion Bread Pudding when it came out in October 2009 and then it got lost in the recipe shuffle. I revisited last week and decided to put on my menu plan or forever hold my peace. Good things come to those who wait!
This was so yummy and savory and bread puddingy. We gobbled up one piece, both went back for seconds and had it for lunch today too. The only addition I made was a little fresh thyme since I had some handy and I love adding fresh herbs whenever I can. Moving on to the salad I chose to accompany the fantastic bread pudding. The name is quite unique: Hotel Russel Erskine Salad. Turns out, Russel Erskine was a businessman from Huntsville, Alabama and was the president of Studebaker motor cars for several years. The Hotel Russel Erskine building is still in Hunstville, but is now an aparment complex. Sigh, that makes me think of the beautiful Plaza Hotel in New York City. I digress. This dressing, served at Hotel Russel Erskine, is a funky combo of flavors THAT ROCKS. Hoseradish, sweet paprika, dry mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil. This reminded me of a typical French dressing but was much thinner and lighter in flavor; perfect for the watercress. I highly recommend both of these!
So it was a gorgeous day in Austin and Lex and me enjoyed the beautiful 80 degree weather for most of the day, but got back this afternoon and banged out not two, not three but four delicious recipes all from Food & Wine magazine.Warm Winter-Vegetable SaladandZucchini-and-Watercress Soup. After tasting both we were quite impressed but a full review is to come later lambies.
For dinner, we made these – what I thought were – awesome Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos with Mango-Tomato Salsa. The turkey for the tacos was pretty simple and we knew this would be delicious once we opened the lid with the simmering turkey and aromatics and got quite hungry. The salsa was a basic dump and pour (as it usually is) but Lex hates chunky salsa so we decided to dump it all in the food processor and give her a whirl until it was nice and pureed. I really liked these tacos with the salsa but if you are not a big fan of cinnamon (like Lex is) then it might be a little too overpowering for some. I loved them however so I say go for it!
I love Rachael Ray’s 30-minute meals and I love Tex-Mex, combine the two and you have one happy Texan. When I came across this Enchiladas Suiza Mexican Lasagna recipe inside the 30 minute meals section of the new Everyday with Rachael Ray, I had to try it.
My first thought was it looked like a lot of prep for the 30 minute meal time frame, with lots of vegetable chopping plus food processing the tomatillo salsa and avocados and limes separately. And there was ground turkey to cook and an onion mixture to saute. I charred the tortillas in my Lodge Logic cast-iron skillet which was simple enough but a little more time consuming than originally thought. One thing that I did not follow – gasp – was I used corn tortillas instead of flour since that’s what I had in the casa.
Overall this came together quickly and beautifully – my picture looked almost like the one in the magazine. I served this with a simple black bean and corn salad on the side. My favorite part of this was the leftover factor. The next day I threw the leftover lasagna, black bean and corn salad and some pickled jalapenos in a bowl and reheated – it was even better the second day. Maybe it’s like a soup were the flavors get better over time? Regardless this is a fun play on Enchiladas Suiza and I really liked the idea of lesser-hassle way to enjoy its flavors.
…so when I saw this Fresh Whole-Wheat Pita recipe I thought why not put the meatballs and sauce from the Everyday with RachaelRay recipe on top and put some grated parmesan and shredded mozarella cheese on top? We both loved this dish and the whole wheat pitas were delicious.
If Cooking Inside the Lines exist for any other reason it is most certainly for baking recipes. If the culinary world were a high school, cooking would be English and baking would be Math. I love cooking because it doesn’t have to be exact to turn out well but baking, ick, you miss one thing by just a wee bit and it’s a disaster.
Sometime even if I follow baking recipes to the letter it can turn out wrong but not with this pita recipe. It was easy to follow, quite quick and they came out piping hot, moist and delicious and I love that it’s whole wheat. Amazing! Try these now!