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Friday, July 19, 2013

Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells

There is no need to be intimidated by such a recipe. You can do it!

When I served this dish to my significant other, I was expecting the same routine. He would salt the heck out of it, eat it and life would go on. What I didn't expect was all the raving. From another room, I could hear his fork clanging against the plate over and over. The compliments were bountiful, and I was beaming with pride. Stuffed shells may now be marked off the
bucket list. Success!

For a step-by-step tutorial, please visit MY INSTRUCTABLE

2 cups Multi-Purpose Marinara
Cooking spray
2 1/2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 10 ounce package of frozen spinach - thawed, drained and squeezed dry
1 large egg yolk
1 clove of garlic, minced or squeezed through a garlic press
24 jumbo pasta shells - jumbo. Should be cooked prior to assembling this dish.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Multi-Purpose Marinara Sauce

Oh, the magic of the smells floating through your house when a big pot of this wonderful Marinara sauce is on the stove top.

The longer it simmers, the more intense the flavor, and the thicker it becomes, making it a wonderful sauce in that you decide what the end result will be. Marinara sauce is so versatile. Dip mozzarella sticks into a hot pool of it, and you'll melt like the cheese that would taste great on top of it.

Pour it over a bed of pasta, doll it up further for use as a pizza sauce, there are so many things you can do with it.

Easily adapted if you wish to vary from the given recipe, so please, by all means, have fun with it. Add capers, add mushrooms, olives if you desire. Add more onion, less onion,
no onion. This is your sauce. Let's get started!

For a detailed, step-by-step tutorial with full instructions and a lot of pictures, please

  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 cups of chopped yellow onion (usually about 3 medium-ish onions)
  • 3 Tablespoons of minced / diced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds (crushed, if you prefer)
  • 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (not apple cider, not white)
  • 2 cups of fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (no, you can't tell, and it's better for you)
  • 3 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes (you may use salt free if you wish to reduce sodium) 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Easy Four Day Refrigerator Pickles

If you find yourself with a bounty of little cucumbers, make pickles! So easy to toss together, put into the refrigerator, and then in four days, enjoy. From the 2008 Cooking Light Annual Recipes book, page 217.

6 cups of thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about two pounds)
2 cups white onion, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups of white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon of celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, freshly ground
4 garlic cloves, sliced very thin

For even more details and photos, visit my step-by-step tutorial: 

In a large glass bowl, layer three cups of sliced cucumbers.
Top with one cup of sliced onions.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 and 1/2 cups of white vinegar.
Stir in the remaining eight ingredients, whisk or stir well.
Bring to a boil, allow to cook for one minute.

Pour over the cucumber / onion mixture and allow to cool.
Cover and chill for at least four days.

Yield: 7 cups (serving size = 1/4 cup)

May be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month. If they last that long. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sweet Rice Pudding (Arroz con Dulce)

From the 2008 Cooking Light Annual Recipe Book:

2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 2" cinnamon stick
1 cup UNcooked Arborio rice (look for NON-GMO)
2-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or 2%)
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of grated lime rind
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Combine first four ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to a boil. Stir in rice. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Stir in milk, sugar and lime rind, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cook 25 minutes or until mixture thickens and becomes creamy, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat, stir in raisins and vanilla extract.

I do have to say, though, now that it has chilled in the refrigerator, it is very thick. Maybe tomorrow after it has completely chilled, the texture will be a little more uniform. I'm thinking I preferred the consistency of it before it chilled. But it is good!