Thursday, July 29, 2010

Penne with lightly sautéd peppers

My local super market has a nice lunch/dinner bar where customers can get their lunch or dinner from a selection of items freshly cooked each day.  Last week, I happened to be there at lunchtime and decided to get something instead of cooking when I got home.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much left when I stopped at the hot bar.  They did have a pasta dish that I decided to try.  It was so good that I decided that I wanted to have some for dinner and made up my own version of it.

  • Penne pasta (or the pasta of your choice)
  • Olive oil
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes (optional)
  • Fresh Basil and parsley

  • Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packaging.
  • While the pasta is cooking, chop up the peppers into bite size pieces and put aside. 
  • Chop the basil and parsley and put aside.  For this recipe, I didn't have fresh herbs so I used dried.  
  • Drain the pasta and put aside.
  • Sauté the peppers and tomatoes lightly then add the pasta and herbs to the peppers and sauté for a couple more minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and serve.
  • A spring of fresh basil on top or to the side of the pasta would look nice when serving this dish.

Fruit Toast-tillas

I don't know about you, but when I am checking out at the super market, they frequently give me coupons and such based on my purchases.  Sometimes, there is a recipe in there that uses one of the items that I have purchased recently.  A couple of months ago, I was handed a coupon with a recipe that called for Dole Tropical Fruit.  I put the recipe aside because it sounded good and promptly forgot about it until a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for something to make for breakfast.

This was a relatively easy recipe to make and it let me use up some of the items that were taking up space in the pantry.

  • 1 jar (24.5 oz) DOLE Tropical Fruit
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • powdered sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • Drain the tropical fruit, reserving 1 tablespoon of the syrup.
  • Combine the milk, egg and reserved syrup in a shallow pie pan, mixing well with a fork.
  • Lightly coat a nonstick skillet with vegetable cooking spray; place over medium-high heat.  Dip tortilla in egg mixture, coating well on both sides.  Place in hot skillet.  Cook for 30 seconds or until tortilla begins to puff up.  Turn the tortilla and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Spoon 2 tablespoons yogurt and 1/4 cup tropical fruit mixture slightly off-center of each tortilla.  Fold the tortilla in half and transfer to a plate.  Top each tortilla with additional tropical fruit and yogurt.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spreading the word...Mediterra Bakehouse

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA eating Mancini's Bread.  Mancini's is a Pittsburgh staple and very good.  Great Italian bread that is light and fluffy on the inside and crusty on the outside.  Mancini's bread is eaten with pasta or used for sandwich rolls. 

However, a few years ago, I found something even better than Mancini's, Mediterra Bakehouse bread.  My parents introduced me to Mediterra bread shortly after they met the owner, Nick Ambeliotis and his family.  At the time, they had one location and sold their bread at a couple of farmer's markets.  Today, they have two locations (Pittsburgh, PA and Cleveland, OH) and sell their bread through a variety of small markets as well as the farmer's markets and online.

Mediterra bread is an experience.  At one time or another over the last several years, I've tried almost all of the breads that Nick makes and I haven't been disappointed with any of them.  My favorites, and yes I have a favorite or two, are their Parmesan Peppercorn Loaf, their Cranberry Pecan Loaf and their Chocolate Cherry Loaf.

They don't make every type of bread every day, so you need to find out the schedule of what gets made when in order to stop by and get a particular loaf when it is fresh out of the oven.  The last time I checked, the Chocolate Cherry Loaf was only made on Thursdays.  I have some time this week, so I think that I'll be stopping in at the bakehouse and getting a loaf since I will be in the area.

If you are able to stop in one of the bakehouses, they also have great bagels and pastries.  So you should make sure to try some of those as well.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Emptying the pantry and enchiladas

I was trying to figure out what to make for lunch the other day, knowing that I didn't have a lot in the kitchen that I could make, and I was having a craving for Mexican.  When I looked in the pantry, I saw a can of Old El Paso enchilada sauce.  However, when I looked in the refrigerator, I realized that I didn't have any chicken for enchiladas, but I did have some leftover Chicken Broccoli rice and Colby/Monterey jack cheese.  The result of this was pretty good.

  • 2 Tortilla shells
  • 1 can Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce
  • Approximately 1 cup of Knorr's Chicken Broccoli Rice
  • 1 cup of Colby/Monterey Jack cheese
  • Heat the over to 375.
  • Take a tortilla shell and spread approximately 1/2 cup of Knorr's rice on one end of the tortilla shell.
  • Cover that with 1/2 cup of cheese.
  • Spoon approximately 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce over this.
  • Roll and place seam side down in a greased glass pan.
  • Once both tortillas are in the pan, cover with the rest of the enchilada sauce and sprinkle with any remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 15 - 20 minutes.
My directions are a variation of the directions on the can which are for Easy Beef Enchiladas.