Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No dinners for awhile!

We are leaving tomorrow morning on vacation for a few days, so I won't be posting until August 7th. We are going to a friend's wedding...I can't wait! Tonight is just leftovers to clean out the fridge. Nothing too exciting there!

My husband surprised me last night with a Cooking Light cookbook. I love the magazine Cooking Light, and he saw the cookbook at Costco and got it for me. I can't wait to use it--lots of yummy stuff in there! I imagine most of next week's recipes will come from that.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Tonight's dinner isn't one I would usually fix because it has ground beef in it, but I'm taking dinner to a friend that had a baby last week, and I don't want to make two things. This recipe makes A LOT, so I'm giving them half and keeping half for us. I'm also modifying it a bit, but I'll list that out below. This recipe is from my mom's friend, Ann Graham.

1-1/2 lb. Italian sausage
4 c. meatless spaghetti sauce
1 lb. cooked mostaccioli or rigatoni
1 beaten egg
1 (15 oz) ricotta cheese
2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 c. grated romano cheese

In a large pan, brown sausage; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and pasta; set aside. In a bowl, combine egg, ricotta, and mozzarella. In a 9x13 prepared pan (or 2-1/2 to 3 quart casserole) spread 1/2 of the pasta mixture into pan. Layer cheese mixture over all; top with remaining pasta mixture. Bake, covered, at 375 for 40 minutes. Top with romano cheese; bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serves 8 to 12.


I'm using a pound of hamburger (93% lean) and half a pound of ground turkey sausage instead of the 1.5 pounds of Italian sausage. I'm also doing it in two 11x7 pans, and I think I'm going to top it with some mozzarella instead of the romano because I don't have romano cheese.

My friend that I'm taking this to is a very picky eater. I made it for them when they had their first child, and they really liked it. So I figured why come up with something new this time around. :)

We're heading out of town on Wednesday, and when I was cleaning out my fridge this morning I noticed I have quite a few vegetables, so I think we'll have a big salad on the side so I can use up some of those.

By the way, this recipe is very easy to half. I've made it that way several times because with just two people, it takes forever to eat.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Saito Chicken

I hope everyone has had a nice weekend! We had a really good one--lots of family time and my husband and I got to see a movie! Oh, and we got a Nintendo Wii, so things were good at the Knightly house this weekend. :)

Sorry for the late post, I was distracted by the Wii most of the day. This way I can do the recipe and review all in one! This chicken marinade is one I use all the time. Last summer I made it whenever we'd have someone over for dinner. It's super easy, and the ingredients are ones I always have on hand. The name comes from the originator of the recipe, my high school best friend's art teacher, Mr. Saito. Feel free to call it whatever you want.

Saito Chicken
1/2 c. oil
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
salt and pepper

Mix and pour over chicken. Let marinate an hour, flipping chicken after 30 minutes. Grill over medium heat, about 7 minutes per side.


I've used that amount of marinade for as many as eight chicken breasts, so it makes a good amount of marinade. I also usually let it marinate longer than an hour. Our side dishes tonight weren't anything fancy...grilled corn on the cob and a Suddenly Salad pasta salad. My friend Laura sent me a recipe for an orzo pasta salad that sounds fantastic, but I ran out of time to make it. Darn Wii!! ;)

The chicken was good, as always. I could eat this several nights a week, it's one of my favorites.

Friday, July 27, 2007

My night off!

I have Bunco tonight, so that means no dinner is being prepared at the Knightly house. Actually tomorrow night I'm not cooking either as we're going to a family dinner at my grandma's. What a treat for me! :) I do have to take a snack to Bunco, so I'll post that recipe. Every month we have a theme of some sort, and this month's was to bring a recipe our moms made when we were little. I immediately thought of a dip my mom used to make that I loved. I actually made it all the time when I was pregnant.

Vegetable Dip
1 envelope Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 16 ounce container sour cream

Add the soup mix to the sour cream and stir. Chill. Serve with Fritos.


Voila! There you have it. I know it will be good, so I won't bother posting a review tomorrow. ;) I'll be back on Sunday with what we're having for dinner that night. I need to come up with something as what I had originally planned isn't going to work.

Have a good weekend!

Pasta Review

The pasta last night was really good. Every recipe this week has been a success! :) I think I probably could have reduced the amount of olive oil to save some on the fat content. Whole milk seemed to work just fine instead of cream. Not sure how lower fat milk would be, but I might try it that way when I make it again. I think it would be good without chicken, too, for those of you that are vegeterian. I packed some of it for the husband to take for lunch today and had a couple bites of it cold, and it was even good cold. We did end up having it at room temperature, by the way.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pasta with Chicken, Feta, and Roasted Peppers

This is another from the "Pasta & Co Encore" cookbook. I hadn't used it in awhile, so I found a few new recipes in it I wanted to try this week. I plan my menus out a week at a time, by the way. I just bought feta at Costco last week (smokin' deal, buying it there), and I was getting roasted red peppers for last night's frittata, so it worked out perfectly.

Pasta with Chicken, Feta, and Roasted Peppers
1/2 Tbsp salt for pasta water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp salt
10 grinds black pepper
1/2 pound fresh egg fettuccine or 1/3 pound (5 ounces) dried pasta
4 cups cooked boned, skinned chicken (preferably grilled), cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Bring 4 quarts of water and the 1/2 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, heavy cream, red pepper flakes, the 1/8 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.

Cook the pasta in the boiling salted water until tender. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Immediately toss with the dressing. Fold in chicken and feta. If the mixture seems dry, add a small amount of extra olive oil. Place in serving dish and top with 1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers and 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley. Serve at room temperature.


I'm not buying a whole thing of heavy cream for 1.5 tablespoons, so I'm going to use whole milk because I have it in the fridge. I couldn't remember what kind of pasta this took when I was at the store on Monday, so I bought farfalle, but I may pick up some fettuccine today. I'm also not sure if we'll have it at room temperature or if we'll have it hot.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Frittata Review

The frittata was EXCELLENT!!! We both really liked it. I didn't know if the husband would like it because he's not a fan of spinach, but he went back for seconds. I don't remember if I put it on my recipe below, but the cookbook said it was four servings. Maybe ours seemed less because it was Egg Beaters instead of eggs, but I cut it into six slices and only one slice was left.

Vegetarian Frittata

We're still out of chicken, so it's another vegetarian recipe tonight! I see that Safeway has chicken breasts on sale this week, so I'll pick some up today. Tonight we're having a Vegetarian Frittata. In case you don't know, a frittata is kind of like an omelet only you bake it in the oven instead of on top of the stove. This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Pasta & Co. Encore. Pasta & Co is a take-out food shop in Seattle and the surrounding area.

Vegetarian Frittata
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch crescents
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut into a chiffonade
1 bell pepper, preferably red, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch die
6 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
8 grinds cracked black pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Generously butter a 9 or 10 inch pie plate. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add onions and saute until browned. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted. Stir in the roasted pepper and remove from heat. Spoon the vegetables into the buttered pie plate, distributing evenly. Let cool.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a larege bowl just until yolks and whites are blended. Add salt, pepper, parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly.

When vegetable mixture has cooled, pour egg mixture over it, again making sure that the ingredients are evenly distributed. Dish can now be set aside, covered and refrigerated, for up to 8 hours before baking.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the frittata are golden brown and the center is set but still slightly creamy. Do not overbake. Remove frittata to a rack and let cool approximately 15 minutes. Carefully loosen frittata from the paln with a metal spatula. Slide out and continue to cool on rack. To serve either hot or at room temperature, slide frittata onto a flat surface and cut into wedges.


I'll be using Egg Beaters for ours because of the cholesterol in eggs. I also have a jar of roasted red peppers because I'm too lazy to roast them myself. Plus red peppers weren't on sale this week at my grocery store.

Oh, and here's a really easy way to do a chiffonade. I use it for fresh basil all the time. Stack a few leaves on top of each other and roll from one side to the other so you have a cylinder of leaves. Make small slices from top to bottom, and there you go! Super easy.

This is a new recipe I haven't tried before, so we'll see how it turns out. The last frittata I made wasn't very good, but I think that was more because of the ingredients.

Portobello Pita Review

Just like last time, this was super yummy. I don't know if the portobellos I had were bigger than last time, but I ended up using a whole pita for each. I cut the pita and mushroom in half and served it that way. There was no way the whole cap plus the "toppings" were going to fit in half a pita.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Portobello Pita Pockets

I've only made this once before, but it was really good. My husband is watching his cholesterol, so I figured portobello mushrooms would be a good substitute for hamburgers because of their meaty flavor. He really liked them. I'm not sure what we'll have on the side. I bought some corn on the cob yesterday, so I may grill that up while I'm doing the mushrooms and onions.

Portobello Pita Pockets
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 medium onion, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
4 medium portobello mushroom caps (3-4 inches in diameter)
2 whole wheat pita pocket bread rounds, cut in half
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves
4 slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese

Combine vinegar, oil, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the vinegar mixture. Brush both sides of the onion slices and mushroom caps with remaining vinegar mixture.

Heat grill (or grill pan) to medium high heat. Place pita bread rounds on grill, grilling 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from grill. Place onions and mushrooms on grill; cook 4-6 minutes or until vegetables are tender and have grill marks, turning once.

To assemble sandwiches, cut pita rounds in half. Line each pita round with spinach leaves, one slice cheese, one slice onion, one mushroom cap, and tomato slices. Drizzle each pita with reserved vinegar mixture. Serve immediately.

Now, when I made it last time I found an entire slice of onion was way too much onion for my liking, so I just put a couple rings into each pita. I also didn't like drizzling the extra vinegar on the sandwiches as I thought that made it too soggy. We're using Provolone cheese instead of Swiss tonight, too.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dinner Review

The salmon was really good!! I think it was on the grill closer to 25 minutes, instead of the 20 listed in the recipe. I really like the sauce and will definitely use this recipe again.

The orzo was good, as always, although I forgot to add the salt and pepper. The husband couldn't tell, but I could taste that something was missing. Using fresh basil really makes a difference. I've used dried before with decent results, but fresh really adds a lot to it.

Tomorrow night's recipe...Portobello Pita Pockets!

Basil Salmon with Creamy Parmesan Orzo

I had planned on making basil chicken tonight, but then I remembered I used the last of our chicken breasts when I made jambalaya on Saturday night. I bought some salmon recently and put it in the freezer, so I think we'll have that instead. I just did a Google search on "basil salmon" and the below recipe came up in the list. Sounds yummy, so we'll see how it turns out.

Grilled Basil Salmon
1 (1 lb) salmon fillets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grated lemons, rind of
2 teaspoons basil
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons soy sauce
5 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place salmon filet, skin side down, in disposable foil pan. Mix the next 6 ingredients; pour over fish. Sprinkle with parmesan and pepper. Put pan on grill, cover grill, and cook over med heat for 20 minutes.

On the side we'll have Creamy Parmesan Orzo, which is one of my favorite side dishes, and steamed broccoli.

Creamy Parmesan Orzo
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup orzo
1 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo, and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and orzo is done (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in cheese, basil, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


So I've decided to start a cooking blog. I love when I stumble across these in Google searches for recipes, so I thought I'd start my own. I generally cook dinner at least six nights a week, so my plan is to post a recipe each day of what I'm making for dinner that night. I don't end up making the same thing very often, so there should be a good variety of stuff!

Tonight we're having leftovers, so look for my first post tomorrow!! Some kind of basil chicken is on the menu. Yum!