Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recipes to Share

I love trying new recipes.  You must know this about me, if you've been reading for any length of time, especially since I started my weekly menu posts.  I mean, we have tried and true favorites that show up time and again, but there is usually at least one new recipe each week.  Sometimes, I try a new recipe every day in a week.

I've been thinking, the last few days, about why I like trying new recipes so much.  Is it because I get bored easily?  Is it because I enjoy change, but only "safe" change, over which I have control?  Is it because I'm worried that there's something better out there?  That I'm missing out on something incredible?  Is it because I want to expose my kids to a variety of healthy foods?  Maybe all of the above.

In the past week, I've tried a few new recipes that I have absolutely loved, so I wanted to share them with you.

First up, Pizza-Stuffed Pasta Shells from Pillsbury.  What I liked about this recipe was that it was a stuffed pasta that didn't include cheese in the filling.  I love stuffed pasta, and my very favorite, which I haven't had in, oh...10 years or so...is manicotti, stuffed with ground beef and mozarella, parmasan, and cottage cheeses.  Y'all know how my family feels about cheese.  Two of those weirdos claim to not like it.

Anyway, these shells are stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, chopped pepperoni, and pizza sauce, with the cheese on top.  Perfect.  I loved it, and 3/4 of the boys liked it, too.  AKD told me he likes this better than pizza casserole, and I think I probably do, too.

To cut down on the prep time a bit, use medium or small shells instead of the jumbo shells, and just mix everything together instead of stuffing.  To make this a bit healthier, use whole wheat pasta, ground turkey, turkey pepperoni, and homemade pizza sauce (my recipe below).

Next, I tried Herbed Chicken with Wild Rice from Taste of Home.  I love chicken.  I love wild rice.  I love herbs.  Put 'em together and cook 'em in the slow cooker, and I'm there.  I loved the mixture of flavors and this dish's hearty, stick-to-the-ribs consistency.  So good, and the leftovers were great, too.

To make this dish a little less preservative-y, make your own rice mixture, perhaps using the copycat recipe here for inspiration.  I would put the long grain (or brown) and wild rice in the bottom of the cooker, then stir the spices in to the soup mixture.  You could also make your own cream of chicken soup using this recipe.

Finally, yesterday I tried this Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad, and it tasted amazing.  Ah. Maze. Zing.   Seriously, where has this deliciousness been all my life?  I am in love.  I used chicken that I had previously cooked in the slow cooker, shredded, and frozen in 2 cup portions, and I mashed the avocado instead of dicing it.  Next time, and there will be a next time, I'm planning to use all Greek yogurt instead of half mayo, half yogurt.  I don't think it'll affect the taste all that much, but it will significantly cut down on the fat content.

That's it for now.  Let me know if you try any of these!


Scarlet's Homemade Pizza Sauce

  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 t. basil
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. marjoram
  • 1/4 t. black pepper
  • 1 t. granulated sugar
  • 1-2 shakes of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl.
  2. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, to allow the seasonings to mingle--the longer it sits, the better it tastes.

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