Monday, March 29, 2010

24. Pizza Spaghetti Casserole

From 2007 Southern Living Annual Recipes

Pizza? Good.

Spaghetti? Good.

Together? YUM!

This tasted exactly as I a sausage and pepperoni pizza, with pasta instead of crust. I don't have children, but I would imagine that kids would love this dish, too. It was the ultimate comfort food...and a great twist on baked spaghetti.

12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (1-pound) package mild ground pork sausage
2 ounces turkey pepperoni slices (about 30), cut in half
1 (26-ounce) jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Italian three-cheese blend

Cook spaghetti with salt according to package directions. Drain well and place in a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.

Brown and drain sausage. Set aside. Wipe skillet and add pepperoni, cooking over medium-high heat for 4 minutes until slightly crisp.

Top spaghetti in baking dish with sausage. Pour pasta sauce over. Arrange half of pepperoni over sauce. Sprinkle evenly with cheeses. Arrange remaining pepperoni over cheese. Cover with lightly greased aluminum foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

23. Honey-Pecan Chicken Thighs

From 2002 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I actually came across this recipe by accident, while looking at another one. I realized I had everything but the chicken already on hand, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I checked out the reviews on SL's site, and they were overwhelmingly positive.

And...I agree. This was a delicious way to cook chicken. I was a little heavy-handed on the pecans, but other than that, it had amazing flavor...and the sauce was divine.

1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (I omitted)
8 skinned and boned chicken thighs
3/4 cup honey, divided
3/4 cup Dijon mustard, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/ cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. curry powder

Combine first 4 ingredients and sprinkle evenly over chicken in a shallow dish. Stir together 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup mustard and garlic. Pour over chicken, and cover and chill 2 hours.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Dredge chicken in pecans. Place on a lightly greased rack in an aluminum-foil lined broiler pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

Stir together remaining 1/4 cup honey, remaining 1/4 cup mustard, and curry powder. Serve sauce with chicken.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

22. Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Burgers

From 2006 Southern Living Annual Recipes

Today was a beautiful spring day, perfect for grilling, so I thought I'd try out a new burger recipe.

I love me some pimiento cheese, and I recently had a p.c. burger that was delicious at the newly opened FLIP restaurant (owned by former Top Chef contestant Richard Blais) here in Birmingham.

I really wanted the jalapeno pimiento cheese, but I haven't been able to find it at Publix lately, so I topped my burger with a few pickled jalapeno slices instead for some kick.

But, overall, the burgers were just okay. After the photo above was taken, I realized that the burgers weren't cooked all the way through, so they went back on the grill. Be sure to cook a few minutes longer than the recipe states. By the time they were done, a lot of the cheese had cooked out. Even with pinching the edges to seal the patties over the filling, they come open during cooking.

Ultimately, I would suggest, to get the same flavor, to just cook the burgers as you normally would and then top them with a dollop of pimiento cheese once they're off the grill. Stuffing them just made them more difficult to cook.

2 lbs. ground chuck
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/3 cups prepared pimiento cheese
1 tsp. salt

Combine ground beef and pepper in a large bowl until blended. (Do not overwork meat mixture.) Shape into 8 (4-inch) patties. Spoon 1-1/2 tbsp. pimiento cheese in center of each of 4 patties. Top with remaining four patties, pressing edges to seal. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with salt.

Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat for 7 to 8 minutes on each side or until beef is no longer pink.

Monday, March 15, 2010

21. Warm Roasted Red Potato Salad

From 2009 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I was intrigued by this recipe when I saw it in the magazine last year, and I decided to try it tonight for a light dinner. It might sound unusual, but it really works.

I used spinach instead of salad greens, since I had it on hand...and, I love spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette, so I knew it was hearty enough to stand up to the heat and wilt well. Also, I'm not a fan of blue cheese, so I used Greek vinaigrette instead.

The dressing was "just enough" to lightly coat and not overwhelm...and it gave the dish a nice tangy flavor.

This is a simple, yet out-of-the-ordinary side dish that would make a fantastic accompaniment to a grilled steak.

1 (22-ounce) package frozen olive oil, Parmesan, and roasted garlic red potatoes (such as Alexia)
1 (5-ounce) package salad greens
1/2 cup blue cheese vinaigrette

Prepare potatoes according to package directions. Toss salad greens with warm potatoes and vinaigrette just before serving.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

20. Cinnamon Loaves

From 1999 Southern Living Annual Recipes

"If I had known you were coming, I would have baked a cake." Not at this house.

Don't get me wrong...I'm very hospitable. I'll make appetizers, salads, entrees, and sides. But, dessert will always either be contributed or bought from a bakery.

I don't eat dessert, and so I'm therefore less inclined to make dessert. I don't bake, and I own it. You get the picture.

However, my grandmother used to be quite the baker. And, she's tried in vain for years to instill that passion in no avail. But, it's her birthday week, and I decided to surprise her at dinner at my parents' house tonight with...a cake.

The recipe made two loaves, so I was able to crack into one and give it a test drive before presenting the other one to her.

This tasted like Christmas morning to me. The top had a nice crust, while the inside was incredibly moist. Surprisingly, it wasn't too sweet, which I loved. It would work equally well for dessert or breakfast/brunch. The cinnamon swirl inside made for a beautiful presentation.

Um, yeah, I'm pretty darn proud of myself.

1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix with pudding
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Beat first 5 ingredients at high speed with an electric mixer for 3 minutes.

Pour half of batter evenly into 2 greased and floured 8x4 inch disposable loafpans.

Stir together cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle half of mixture evenly over batter in loafpans.

Pour remaining batter evenly into loafpans, and sprinkle evenly with remaining sugar mixture. Gently swirl with a knife.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

19. Country-Style Spaghetti

From 2002 Southern Living Annual Recipes

So...on this cold and rainy night, I wanted spaghetti. And, I wanted a new recipe for spaghetti sauce.

What I found was a recipe that is destined to have red splatters all over the page in the cookbook...because this is now my spaghetti sauce staple.

Yep, it was that good...but what puzzles me is why. It's a pretty standard list of ingredients, and I can't identify what gives it that "special quality."

I'm not sure if it's the simplicity that, in turn, gives it purity...or whether the seasonings were just right...or if it was the flavor from the meatballs infused in the sauce that took it over the top.

Then I thought, "Don't overanalyze...just eat."

2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (I used the petite cut)
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 tsp. dried basil
1-1/2 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
3 dozen frozen, cooked Italian-style meatballs, thawed
Hot cooked spaghetti

Stir together first eight ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 40 minutes. Add meatballs and simmer 20 minutes. Serve over pasta.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

18. Israeli Couscous With Roasted Mushrooms

From 2009 Southern Living Annual Recipes

After the gym, I want something light for dinner...and I'm starving, so I want something that comes together quickly. This recipe hit both marks.

Roasting the mushrooms gave them an amazing flavor...they were well-seasoned, earthy, and meaty, and they took a bowl of couscous to the next level.

This would make a great side dish for any meat, but I just had it with a handful of fresh spinach, and it was completely satisfying.

Notes: I used a box of parmesan couscous for extra flavor. Also, it was just a touch too salty for me, so next time, I'll leave out the additional salt at the end, since Worcestershire sauce is added.

1 (4-ounce) package fresh gourmet mushroom blend, coarsely chopped
1 garlic cloved, thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper, divided
1 (6.3-ounce) packages Israeli couscous
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss together mushrooms, garlic, olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. papper in an aluminum foil-lined broiler pan. Spread mushroom mixture in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook couscous according to package directions.

Stir in mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, and remaining salt and pepper.

Friday, March 5, 2010

17. Spinach-Black Bean Lasagna

From 2002 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I love lasagna...and I love Mexican this recipe was screaming my name. And, it was so delicious. Don't worry about the absence of meat...this dish is plenty hearty, with the black beans, to satisfy any appetite.

When I saw how much liquid was in the dish, I decided to use no-boil noodles, and they worked perfectly.

I think you could easily cut the amount of cheese in half (1 cup for ricotta filling, and 1 cup for topping) and not lose any flavor. I skipped the cilantro, for personal preference, and I added mushrooms to the pasta sauce.

If you're a lasagna fan, looking for a little twist, this one's a "must-cook!"

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 (16-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (2-pound, 13-ounce) jar pasta sauce
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
9 pre-cooked lasagna noodles

Stir together first five ingredients and 1 cup of cheese. Set aside

Mash beans with a potato masher or fork in a large bowl. Stir in pasta sauce and cumin. Spread 1/3 of mixture on bottom of a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.

Layer with 3 noodles, half of spinach mixture and 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers. Spread with 1/3 sauce mixture, top with remaining 3 noodles, and remaining sauce mixture.

Bake, covered, at 350 for 1 hour. Uncover and top with remaining cheese. Bake 5 more minutes.

This post is part of Weekend Cooking, which is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.