Mini Spinach Lasagne

You are going to want to run out right now and make this! Its delicious! Its easy! It’s meatless (for those meatless Friday nights, or every night for some of you.)

I have made this twice now and keep forgetting why I dont make it more often. Probably because I just plain…forget.

The only hitch is, you should be using a brownie pan. You know, those square muffin type pans used to make brownies. Like this…

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They are more shallow than muffin pans and hold the square ravioili’s perfectly. I tried them in the round muffin pans and I couldn’t get them in there. You would have to use smaller ravioli’s, like some fresh ones I found at the store. Continue reading “Mini Spinach Lasagne”

Sea Food Cioppino

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Some years ago I was at a bookstore, killing some time sweetly, and found an interesting cookbook called “Carmines” based on recipes from a famous Italian restaurant that I had never heard of. But the pictures spoke to me. (and said “You need spaghetti-NOW!”)

I have made several recipes from that book and none have disappointed. Like the porterhouse steak with peppers and onions, or the halibut with seafood risotto which became a Christmas eve dinner for several years. Their meatballs transformed Italian meals here. Continue reading “Sea Food Cioppino”

New Creamy Pesto Pasta

Hubby was sitting on his recliner and I mentioned that I had no plans for dinner. So he says “How about some of that pesto pasta sauce.”

Now  to me, saying “some of that”  implies that I have made it before. I have never ever made pesto sauce before.

Never.

I have not even had it at a restaurant. So I am not sure what he was exactly thinking of. If he had said, “some of that garlic butter pasta” then I would have had a clue what he meant.

But it got me to thinking. I did have a jar of Trader Giottos Pesto alla Genovese sauce sitting in my pantry. It had a thick layer of dust on it. I must have seen a recipe at some time that used a pesto sauce and thought I might utilize it. But then I never did. (Now don’t tell me you never did that. Haven’t you had something in your pantry that you bought for a recipe and then later wondered what the heck that was for?)

So I got on the internet, looked again in my pantry and refrigerator and this is what I came up with. Easy-peasy!

Well, I cooked the Trader Joes pasta, raviolis & tortellinis  that I happen to have on hand. (I had to make some plain spaghetti pasta for Mr. picky pants). I also  had some TJ’s cream. (Guess where I like to shop?)

Round up the usual suspects

When the pasta was cooked, I drained it and put the empty pan back on the stove. I added some cream and a dollop of butter. To that I added 2 heaping Tbsp. of the Pesto sauce, some diced garden tomatoes and some grated parmesan. This took about 3 minutes.

Or less!

I put the pasta back in and tossed gently. (Why gently? Because I don’t want the raviolis and tortellinis getting busted open. Messy and wasteful.)

It came out creamy, with green specks and bits of pine nuts, little red balls of tiny tomatoes and shreds of cheese on top. I have to describe it to you because we were so busy eating it (and I was so busy dishing it out) that I forgot to take a picture until it was just a few cold tortellinis in the bottom of the pan. Who needs to see that?

So just use your imagination. It was warm, simple, stove-top and quick. All that we love in a summer time meal.

Fish Tacos, adapted (with a few words from “Ladyhawke”)

Imperius: What do you want?
Phillipe: I was told to bring you this bird. It’s been wounded.
Imperius: Oh, good shot! Bring it in, we’ll dine together.
Phillipe: We can’t eat this bird.
Imperius: What? Oh God, is it Lent again already?
Well, not lent, just yet another meatless friday for us. Bet you don’t know where that quote came from, do you?
 Ever see the movie “Ladyhawke”? Its old. Its unusual. It has Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer.
You can watch it while you eat your fish tacos.
This is a quicky fish tacos. Whats a fast fish? Black Marlin tacos. (not really)
One lone taco. He needs another buddy.
I get frozen fish from Trader Joes, crispy breaded fish fillets. Turn the oven on to 400 degrees, put them on a baking pan and pop them into the oven. While they are baking…
First I take a small scoop of sour cream and a scoop of mayo and put into a bowl. Sprinkle in some taco seasoning, squeeze in some lime juice. If I had some cilantro, I would dice  it up and put some in. But I didn’t. Mores the pity.
Now normally I would have shredded some cabbage, but neither one of us wanted to go to the store just for cabbage when we had everything else, so I just used lettuce and you know what? It didn’t kill us. They were fine as is.
So, the fish baked and I sliced it up.
I heated some oil and fried up the corn tortillas, laying them on a napkin. Now the assembly:
Fish in the taco shell.
Sour cream sauce,
Guacamole if you have it.
Salsa.
Lettuce.
Cheese.
More cheese.
Now eat it with a side of rice or refried beans and tortilla chips.
Enjoy the movie. Matthew Broderick plays a clever and somewhat pitiful thief who escapes from a dungeon. Michelle Pfeiffer is a hawk by day and a beautiful woman by night. Her main squeeze is the spooky Rutger Hauer who turns into a wolf by night and a studly knight type by day. The story is odd but “Phillipe” adds the humor and cleverness it needed.
 Here is some more quotes.
Imperius: I fully expect to meet you at the pearly gates little  thief, and don’t
you dare disappoint me.
Phillipe:
 I’ll meet you there  father, even if I have to pick the lock.
Phillipe: What is your quest?
Etienne Navarre: I must kill a man.
Phillipe: Tell me – does this walking corpse have a name?
Etienne Navarre: His Grace, the Bishop of Aquila.
Etienne Navarre: I need you to guide me into the city.
Phillipe: Not for the life of my mother! Even if I knew who she was.
Etienne Navarre: You are the only one who has ever escaped from there.
Phillipe: It was chance! Pure chance! A miracle! Once in a lifetime! I fell down a hole and followed my nose!
[after picking someone’s pocket]
Phillipe: I know I promised, Lord, never again. But I also know that YOU know what a weak-willed person I am.
Phillipe: Sir, the truth is I talk to God all the time, and no offense, but He never mentioned you.

Lemony Tuna Melt

If you glance over at my meatless post, where I despair or coming up with good meatless friday dishes,  you will see several responses. In fact, several people took pity on me and it is the post with the most. Most responses I mean. One was from Jessica. She gave me lots of ideas and we tried one yesterday for lunch and it was wonderful! Dear hubby, of course, does not say that exactly. But you just need to understand his code. “You can make this anytime!” is code for “that was wonderful”. Since he is the picky one in the family, that one little comment has more significance. I even took a picture. (okay, so I take lots of pictures.)

Its very easy and you will truly enjoy this one

You just need

  •  a can of tuna
  • some mayonaise, about 1/3 cup, what you usually use for a tuna sandwich
  • a heaping teaspoon of sweet relish
  • a heaping teaspoon of capers (secret ingredient, shhh!)
  • 1 lemon
  • cheese, your favorite, grated

Mix those first 4 ingredients all together in a small bowl. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over it.

Now you need your bread. Butter the outsides, like you would for grilled cheese. You can put mayo or mustard on the inside, your preference. On your George Foreman Grill or panini grill or pan of choice, lay the first slice butter side down, add a large scoop of  tuna, top  with grated cheese then the other slice of bread, butter side up.

Now grill until browned. Eat hot with some chips or salad on the side.

Voila!

Thanks to Mrs. Jessica Messimer for sharing that wonderful idea. You can make this for me anytime!

Aack! Meatless Friday—

 

Now I am not very trendy. This is nothing new to those that know me. I’ve been old fashioned since I was born. When I was about 13 my favorite thing to do, besides re-reading ‘Little House on the Prairie’,  was put on a long prarie dress I had, tie a bonnet to my head and take flowers to a nearby cemetary with a girl friend of mine. We would make up stories about the names on the headstones. Wild stuff huh?

Meatless Mondays
It is very trendy nowadays to eat meatless, to be vegetarian, to be vegan even. It is a sign of fortitude, standing in the face of us omnivores, to take a stand against eating “anything with a face”. It shows enlightenment.  To face the onslaught of carnivorous fast food ads, to a point where now every  restaurant offer meatless options, some not even even giving you a choice.  (you know who you are).

Then there are people like, oh, who was it, Paul McCartney maybe, who tried to encourage trendy people to set one day a week aside, to have “meatless mondays” for better  health and to help “save” our planet. (or at least a steer).

Well, news flash. Catholics have been doing this for years. And years. Only recently giving it up as a requirement for the club and making it a “suggestions”. Does anyone say ‘thank you’ to the catholics for all those cows they spared? I bet its the loss of meatless Fridays that is causing global warming!! Okay, maybe not. As tradition goes, one sacrificed eating meat each Friday as a small sacrifice for God, as a way of disciplining ones spirit and showing ones body who is boss. Now we do it to ‘be green’. A sacrifice for the planet. Hmmm.

Having become catholic after 20 odd years of meatfull and guilt-free protestanism, I now have the weekly challenge of coming up with meatless meals every friday.   I know, I know, modern catholics don’t need to have meatless fridays anymore. But as more old fashioned, traditional catholics, we still try to maintain meatless fridays traditions. Besides, what if I want to save the planet? Or a cow? I need to come up with something besides cereal or pancake night. (A friend of mine called it ‘Brinner’) That gets old real fast. This would be easy if it was just for me. But I am stumped when it comes to feeding the whole family.

In theory since I would like to only buy grass fed meat, and since it is more expensive I would be buying less and  we would be eating less of it. Quality, not quantity. Of course, this often falls into the just theory category, depending on who is doing the shopping. But we try.

Which brings me back to meatless meals. This is not something that comes easy to me. When I first learned to cook, well, not even learned really. But I would fry up pork chops, thin ones and make them real crispy. Serve them up with applesauce and ta-da!  Dinner. Thats it.  No side dish, no bread. Dinner is pork chops, period. Maybe a napkin. The rest of the week we eat out. Veggies? Ptffff. See that applesauce? What more do you want?

Anyway, it is friday today and as usual, I have no plan. I have been bouncing ideas around for a couple hours. I looked through a notebook of recipes. That helped. Now as I am writing, I am jumping up to saute the onions for soup. Then putting together a salad and some grilled cheese sandwiches, ones with cheddar on the inside and parmesan on the outside. ummm. But every week its the same old dilemma. What to do, what to do? I rarely have a plan. So now, here, I am trying to come up with one.

 I will list my meatless menu ideas here. Then, when I get stuck, I will look back  here for suggestions. Thats the plan. I will make a meatless meals category. What, you expected something big and exciting? Thats the plan! I am willing to listen to better ones. 

 I will start a new post to list meatless dinner plans as I find them. It has to be something we will all eat. If it was just me, it would be tuna and noodles every friday night. No worries. But this is for all of us.

Feel free to offer suggestions.

  1. Tuna and Noodles (duh)
  2. Fish tacos
  3. egg and vegy scramble
  4. other breakfast type foods
  5. Jumbo baked potatoes, salad, garlic bread
  6. Tomato soup, sandwiches
  7. pizza, like shrimp scampi or vegy
  8. baked halibut, rice, rolls, spinich
  9. Shrimp scampi
  10. Pasta with marinara
  11. humm
  12. all time favorite-eat out!
  13. *veggie/rice teriyoki
  14. *veggie/cheese/bean quesadilla
  15. *lemon/tuna melt
  16. *Portabello sliders. (wouldn’t they need bacon though?)

* credit goes to my sweetie-daughter, who never liked cooking much at home and now is unstoppable in the kitchen!

Shrimp Scampi

(Here is a 5 year old post that needs freshening up. Its still useful and just needed a little updating, as in zucchini noodles.)

It’s another Friday night and I need a meatless dinner idea. So of course, I go to my blog. I take into account it is enormously hot out and that is not very inspiring. Lets add some hot flashed to that and sweat slithering down my back and face. So I had better keep it simple. Didn’t I see a bag of Trader Joes shrimp collecting hoarfrost in the deep freeze? Well, what can I do with that today? I have often made a shrimp scampi pizza, recipe courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen cookbook on my shelf. But really, its something Phil and I share, not so much my other men. That and I have no pizza dough on hand.So I looked up a couple of recipes, took what I had on hand and made this wonderful dish, in no time flat! It really belongs in the easy-peasy category. Here is what I used: Continue reading “Shrimp Scampi”

Baked Rigatoni-Grandma style

Well there is a story that goes with this one.

This was a favorite of my dads and so mom made it often for all of us. To this day it is requested by my sisters family when mom goes up to visit. So when I was thinking of recipes to include for old time favorites, I thought that I had to include this. But I have never actually made it. (for reasons to follow)

I called mom. Continue reading “Baked Rigatoni-Grandma style”

Deluxe tuna and noodles

(Any minute now I am going to make a batch to take the picture.)

I have had tuna and noodle casserole all my life. It is one of my favorite comfort foods. It was my deep sorrow that no one in my family liked it but me, so I hardly ever bothered to make it. Then bless my soul if my youngest son, Paul, didn’t up and decide he loved it too! Hurray! It is a standby quick meal that my Aunt Jo Ann makes almost every I see her. (which isn’t near often enough now that she lives in Alabama and I am in SoCal.) Hers tuna and noodles  just has a little extra something (I think its the love she puts in it.) So I wanted to share her recipe here. Continue reading “Deluxe tuna and noodles”