Friday, September 10, 2010

Beef Penne Pasta

Bug actually made this recipe awhile back and it was really good. She got it from the Taste of Home magazine. I stole the magazine from her and decided I would make it too. Joe really likes it too, which makes it that much better! :)  And the best part about it- it's no fuss and pretty quick!

So here you go!
What you'll need:
1 3/4 c. uncooked penne pasta
1 lb. ground beef
1 teaspon minced garlic
1 can tomato puree (15 oz)
1 can beef broth (14 oz)
1 1/2 t. Italian Seasoning
1 t. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 c. chopped fresh spinach
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

What to do:
Cook your pasta according to box directions.

Meanwhile in a separate pot/pan, cook beef until no longer pink. Add garlic, cook a little longer and drain the grease.

Stir in the tomatoe puree, broth, Italian seasoning, Wooster sauce and S&P.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened.

Add spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes, until your spinach is wilted.

Stir in your drained pasta and sprinkle with cheese.

Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Raspberry Lime Cheesecake Squares

As if there isn't enough citrus and cream cheese on this site, here's one more delicious variation. This was nice because you get the taste of cheesecake without all the hassle. I altered the original recipe just a bit and made mine with fresh raspberries instead of strawberry jam... mainly because that's what I had on hand and also because I don't like jam on my cheesecake.  I much prefer the taste of fresh fruit.  I loved the combination of the tart raspberry topping with the creamy lime cheesecake. But feel free to substitute strawberries for the raspberries!

Source: slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Feeds: 9

1/4 cup butter
1 whole sleeve graham crackers (9 crackers), finely crushed
1/4 cup sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lime juice
1 tsp. lime zest

1 pint raspberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, defrost and drain off the excess liquid)
1/4 cup sugar
splash of lime juice

1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Melt your butter in an 8x8 square baking pan.

2. Mix sugar and graham cracker crumbs together, until combined and add to melted butter. Mix well and press into the bottom of your baking pan. (I usually use the bottom of a large glass to press it down firmly... works great!)

3. Bake the crust for 5-8 minutes, or until the crust starts to brown. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool.

4. In a small sauce pan, heat the raspberries and sugar. As they cook, mash the raspberries with your spoon until well mushed. (That sounds like a technical term, right?) Bring to a boil, and continue to boil until the liquid has thickened and cooked down a bit.  I usually let mine cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once they've thickened and cooked down a bit, remove from heat and add your splash of lime juice.  Then allow it to cool.

Now, if you're a crazy perfectionist like me and time doesn't really matter (heh!  who am I kidding...), you can go ahead and strain your raspberry sauce now through a fine mesh sieve.  As much as I LOVE raspberries, I don't love millions of tiny raspberry seeds and so I always strain them out.  But... it is annoying and time consuming.  But so worth it.  I recommend it... it'll give you a nicer presentation and a seed free bite!  (If you're too lazy to strain your raspberries, I suggest going the strawberry route... then you don't really have to worry about as many seeds, right?)

5.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and zest. Beat until well combined. Pour over cooled crust.

6. Spoon cooled raspberry topping over the cream cheese mixture and use a butter knife to create a marbled effect. Chill for at least 6 hours.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Nutella Panna Cotta

Oh my sweet goodness, I daresay we've managed to make Panna Cotta even better.  When it's comes to recipes, I have absolutely no imagination, whatsoever.  I am definitely a recipe follower.  Which is why it never occurred to me that you can change up your panna cotta, simply by adding different flavors.  When I saw this recipe on bell'alimento, my mouth literally dropped... and I started drooling.  Nutella and panna cotta?  Yum!  This recipe is made in the identical manner as this panna cotta... only you add a couple Tbsp. of some delicious Nutella, and suddenly you have a chocolate version that reminds me of chocolate milk.  It was so good with some fresh strawberries on top.  Now, I can't wait to try the lemon version!  Oh, and this may very well be a new favorite site... she has an entire category devoted to Nutella!  Now, that's my kind of cooking site...

Recipe Source: adapted from bell'alimento
Serves: 6-8

1/3 c. skim milk
2 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream (or you can pretend to cut calories and use half and half... but why?)
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 packet (.25 oz.) unflavored gelatin
3 Tbsp. Nutella, melted for a few seconds in the microwave

1.  Pour the milk into a small bow, and sprinkle the gelatin powder on top.  Set aside.

2.  In a saucepan, stir together the heavy cream and sugar and set over medium heat.  Cook until it nears a full boil, watching carefully (and stirring frequently) as the cream will quickly rise to the top of the pan. 

3.  Once the mixture is beginning to boil, add the melted Nutella and and bring the mixture back to a boil. 

4. Pour the gelatin mixture into the cream, stirring until completely dissolved.  Cook for one minute, stirring constantly.

5.  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pour into six or 7 individual ramekin dishes.  (About 1/2 c. in each dish)

6.  Cool the ramekins uncovered until they're room temperature.  Once they've cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until firm.

7.  Serve with fresh berries, slightly sweetened with sugar.