Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Primo pasta

This pasta bake is so darn easy. It tastes good, and it's quite healthy. It's a great way to get some spinach in your diet.


15 ounces spaghetti sauce
8 ounces rotini noodles, cooked and drained (I use either the colored veggie noodles or whole wheat)
3/4 c. sour cream
5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (you could always try fresh)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spoon mixed ingredients into 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Putting the "pea" in "peanut"

If you ever need a unique side dish, this pea and peanut salad is a good one. It's got a fresh, savory flavor. You could put individual servings on romaine lettuce leaves for extra appeal.


8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
10 ounces frozen petite peas, thawed
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 1/2 c. roasted, salted peanuts
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
1 T. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine ingredients. Makes 8 servings.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Thai

This recipe for Thai chicken and noodles is so very, very yummy. I wouldn't feel bad about making it every week. Joe says he loves the way it smells when it is cooking. It is easy to make because the prime ingredient for the sauce is pre-made salad dressing. We have made it several times for guests, and everyone raves about it.


1 c. Asian sesame and ginger salad dressing*
2 chicken breast halves, cut up
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. honey
Ground red pepper to taste (I just do a couple of shakes)
8 ounces thin spaghetti, cooked
3/4 c. shredded carrot
3/4 c. chopped green onion
1/4 c. chopped cilantro

Mix dressing, peanut butter, honey and pepper in small bowl; set aside. Cook chicken in skillet. Add sauce, carrots and green onions. Mix thoroughly, then toss with spaghetti and cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

*I used to use Good Seasons dressing, but now I can't find it, so I use Kraft's Asian dressing.

Hankering for Cafe Rio?

Well, I guess you could always go to Cafe Rio. But if you want to stay home and still enjoy the masterful taste of sweet pork, here's the recipe. It's so darn easy for something so rewarding. You've also got to make the avocado-ranch dressing. Feel free to make a burrito or toss it all in a salad. Yum!


2 lbs. pork roast (I used center-cut pork loin roast)
1 1/2 c. salsa (I used Pace picante sauce)
1 1/2 c. brown sugar

Place roast in slow cooker. Mix salsa and brown sugar, and pour over roast. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours. Shred pork.

1 avocado
Handful cilantro
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed
1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. mayonnaise
Half a packet of dry ranch dressing mix
Milk for thinning to desired consistency

Mix ingredients in a blender. Refrigerate before using so flavors can mix.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pumpkin and chocolate: so happy together

Here's what you make with your leftover pumpkin from the soup recipe. (You see, I buy the large cans of pumpkin puree.) Pumpkin bread with chocolate chips is scrumptious. I'm always in need of a good chocolate fix, and this hits the spot. I use half whole wheat flour so I feel even better about chowing down.


1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, pumpkin and dry ingredients. Then add chocolate chips. Bake in greased bread pan at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Makes one loaf.

If you want to further sweeten the deal, try this glaze:

1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp. orange juice

Friday, April 4, 2008

Gotta eat it to believe it

It may sound like a weird combo to some of you, but this pumpkin and sausage soup is delicious. It is spiced to perfection. I love that it's not your average soup, and it's easy to make. Let curiosity drive you to try it. This dish never fails to impress.


1 pound ground pork sausage
1/2 c. chopped onion
8-ounce package fresh sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
15-ounce can pumpkin puree
4 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. curry
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. heavy cream

In a large pot, brown sausage with onion, garlic and mushrooms. Drain fat. Add pumpkin and broth, then curry and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes. Add cream and simmer 10 minutes more. Makes 8 cups.