Thursday, October 15, 2009

October, 1st posting

Here are some new recipes to try. There are 3 soups, one casserole, and a really easy muffin recipe.

Minestrone Soup with Beef & Portabella Mushrooms
Slow Cooker Beef Minestrone

Butternut Squash - Potato Soup

VERY Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Chicken & Spinach Tortilla Bake

The 1st two soups are both minestrone. One has ground beef (the one w/ portabella mushrooms) and the other uses stew beef and can be made in the crock pot. The 3rd soup is butternut squash/potato soup. My kids have loved all 3, although one did pick out all the mushrooms in that soup.

The muffins only have 3 ingredients, are healthy (contain pumpkin) and have been kid-approved too.

The casserole is Mexican. Very tasty although Allison said it was spicy (but ate it all anyway).


Chicken & Spinach Tortilla Bake


1 Tbl olive oil

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt & pepper

1 1/2 cups green salsa

3/4 cup part skim ricotta

4 large flour tortillas, cut into wedges

1/2 red onion very thinly sliced

3 cups baby spinach (about 4 oz)

2 cups shredded mexican cheese blend (or monterry jack)


1. Preheat oven to 450

2. In large skillet, heat olive oil over med-high. Season chicken with salt & pepper, add to pan and cook about 5 minutes a side (or until cooked). Let cool, then shred chicken (you can also just use a rotisserie chicken & skip this step)

3. Whisk together salsa & ricotta (it looks gross, but will taste good). Season with salt & pepper.

4. Grease a 9" square baking dish (I used a bigger one and it still didn't all fit... so use what ever dish you have). Layer 1/3 of salsa mixture, tortillas, chicken, onion, spinach, & cheese. Repeat 2 more times. Finish with a layer of tortilla & cheese.

5. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VERY Easy Pumpkin Muffins


1 Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix

1 15oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 cup chocolate chips or nut of your choice (or nothing at all)


Mix cake mix & pumpkin together. It will be THICK.

Stir in chips or nuts if you are using them.

Fill muffin tins lined w/ paper about 2/3 full.

Bake 20 minutes at 350 or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on rack.

Minestrone Soup with Beef & Portabella Mushrooms

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 portobello mushroom caps, gills removed, halved and thickly sliced
1/2 ground beef
Salt and pepper
4 cups chicken broth
One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup tiny pasta, such as ditalini

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 8 minutes.

2. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

3. Transfer the vegetables to a medium bowl.

4. Add the beef to the pot and cook over medium-high heat, breaking it up, until browned, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

5. Add the vegetable mixture, chicken broth and tomatoes.

6. Stir in the pasta and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

7. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the pasta is tender, 10 to 12 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

The recipe said to serve w/ sour cream - but this didn't sound too good to us.... feel free to add it if you think it sounds right!

Butternut Squash - Potato Soup

This is Allison & Christine's most requested soup.

2 tablespoons butter
5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds) **
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled russet potato (about 12 ounces)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sliced leek (about 2 medium)
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half

** Wegmans sells the squash cubed and peeled... I use about 1 1/2 containers from there


1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash, potato, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add leek; sauté 1 minute.

2. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Place half of potato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Stir in half-and-half.

Slow Cooker Beef Minestrone

INGREDIENTS: (see notes at bottom)

1 1/2 lbs Boneless Beef Chuck Roast, cut into 1-inch cubes

Flour, Salt & Pepper

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 leek, thinly sliced*

1 onion, diced*

3 carrots, diced*

1 celery stalk, diced*

1 green zuchini, diced*

1 russet potato, peeled & diced*

1 carton (32 oz) Beef Stock/Broth use low-sodium if you can

1 can (14.5 oz) Italian-Style Diced Tomatoes

1 24 oz jar Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup dry Ditalini Soup Pasta

1 can (15.5 oz) Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed

1 pkg (6 oz) Baby Spinach

1. Dust beef with flour seasoned w/ salt & pepper; pat off excess.

2. Heat oil in large pan on MEDIUM-HIGH until oil faintly smokes. Add beef; sear 10 min until all sides are brown.

3. Transfer beef to slow cooker; don't discard pan drippings.

4. Add vegetables to pan with beef drippings; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 3 min; add to slow cooker.

5. Add stock, tomatoes, and sauce to slow cooker. Cover, cook 4 1/2 -6 hours on HIGH or 8-10 hours on LOW.

6. Add dry pasta and beans 30 minutes before end of cooking on HIGH (45 minutes before end of cooking on LOW). ***

7. Add spinach to slow cooker; stir to blend well. Allow spinach to lightly wilt, about 2 min

* Wegman sells a 16oz pkg called "Cleaned & Cut Minestrone Soup Vegetables" that you can use in place of all the starred ingredients. I used my own, because the packages looked bad the day I was there.

*** I cooked the pasta earlier in the day and then just added it to each bowl of soup so the pasta wouldn't get too overdone. This worked well.