Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tortellini with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Original recipe here
I first found the recipe here

After buying 1-1/2 pounds of tortellini, I said to myself, "Wow, that's a lot of food." I then decided to third the recipe, which turned out to be the perfect amount for the two of us. I used whole wheat tortellini, which was ok but it much healthier so worth a shot. I also used about 1/3c Ragu jarred sauce of one kind or another (something with chunky veggies) and the rest of the 1/2c was Francesco Rinaldi something or other (I think it was three cheese). The sauce turned out pretty tasty and the tortellini were ok. I wish I hadn't bought three packages of it, but I'll end up using them I'm sure.

I think I'll certainly be making this one again.

Oh, and this was super duper simple too.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

I'm finding myself turning to this recipe more and more. I think it might just be the only one I need. I even think I might be selling off my Rachael Ray cookbooks! We don't seem to really like many of her recipes in practice, although everything she makes seems like we should love it.

On the other hand, I've been inspired by the ATKFC to try things I wouldn't have otherwise and they have all turned out good, if not great!

Further, this book has lots of things I would actually make and even more importantly, things my husband would actually eat. This gives it higher marks than the famed Joy of Cooking or even The Betty Crocker cookbook.

French Onion Soup

America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

2T unsalted butter
5 medium red onions, halved and sliced thin
2t minced fresh thyme or 1/2t dried
1/4c balsamic vinegar
6c chicken broth
1-3/4c (1 can) beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick
8 oz Swiss cheese, shredded I used Swiss/Gruyere mix

1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, and 1/2 t salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 30 min.
2. Stir in the vinegar and scrape the browned crust from teh pot. Stir in the broths and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 min. Season with salt and pepper to taste and discard bay leaves.
3. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat to 450. Arrange oven safe soup bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and ladle the soup into them. Top each bowl with 2 baguette slices and sprinkle each with 1/4c cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 min.

My husband is a big fan of French onion soup, so I figured I'd give making it a go. The red onion added an interesting flavor--not that it was bad, just different from what we're used to. Overall, I liked this recipe and I'm happy to learn that it was easy to make too. I plan to play with it a bit, though, or maybe try other recipes and compare.

Potato, Onion, and Rosemary Frittata

Weight Watchers' Make It in Minutes Cookbook

1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed
2t olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced I used 1/2 a red onion
2t chopped fresh rosemary
3 large eggs
4 egg whites
1T water

1. Preheat the broiler
2. Cook the potato in a pot of boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
3. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the potato and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes to blend flavors.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, salt, pepper, and water; pour over the onion and potato mixture in the skillet. Cook, lifting the edges with a rubber spatula so the uncooked egg can run underneath, until almost set, about 4 minutes.
5. Transfer the skillet to the broiler and broil, 5 inches from the heat, until the top is set and the frittata is cooked through, about two minutes. Invert the frittata onto a plate and cut into wedges before serving.

This was really easy to make. The hardest part was slicing the onions and separating the eggs. The flavor, however, was just plain old bland. The rosemary brought a lot of flavor to the dish, but not enough to overcome the bland egg whites and potato. Hopefully the red onion brought a little more flavor, but it still just wasn't enough. Perhaps if I had added some pancetta, this would have been better, but I didn't so it wasn't.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sausage and Tomato Rigatoni

From Kraft's Foods and Family Magazine. Link here

This was an easy recipe, but I was not at all impressed. I have a few problems with Kraft's recipes, and I don't know why I continue to try them. First, there's the overarching complaint of Kraft being a subsidiary of Phillip Morris (you know, the whole "cigarettes aren't bad for you" people). But that's not the complaint I'm going to get into here.

As one might expect, Kraft's recipes call for... DER... Kraft products. Not surprising, and one can usually find alternatives and substitutions in the grocery store. Not always, but usually.

My bigger problem is that they almost always call for something one cannot get in small quantities. So, in order to try tonight's recipe, I had to purchase a bottle of salad dressing (for which there was no generic alternative). It is probably a 16oz bottle, the smallest they had of that flavor. So now I have another salad dressing bottle sitting in my fridge. It's not one of our typical dressings, so it probably won't get used and we're not making this recipe again. And you know salad dressing isn't CHEAP (and of course it wasn't on sale either).

It's just dumb, and I'm dumb for using their recipes too.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Vermouth and Tarragon Sauce

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1/2 c all purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2T vegetable oil

1T vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
3/4c chicken broth
1/2c dry vermouth
3T unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled
1t dried tarragon (I used parsley)

1. For the chicken: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread the flour in a shallow dish.
2. Pound the thicker ends of the breasts as needed. Pat dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Dredge through the flour to coat and shake off any excess.
3. Heat the oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high head until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm in the oven.
4. For the sauce: Add the oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and 1/4t salt and cook until softened, about 2 min. Stir in the broth and vermouth, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 8 minutes.
5. Stir in any accumulated chicken juice. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Off the heat, stir in the tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the chicken before serving.

It's been a few days since I made this one, so I'm going on a very faulty memory about it. I served it with a side of spaghetti, and we definitely loved the sauce on that. I think the chicken was ok, nothing spectacular, but good enough to try again.

OH!! I forgot to mention that the instructions say that 4T heavy cream can be substituted for the butter in the sauce to make a cream sauce. I definitely think this was better than the butter sauce would have been--nice and rich and creamy YUM! This sauce, if not the chicken, is definitely a keeper!

Molasses Spice Cookies

America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1/2c plus 1/3 c granulated sugar
2-1/4 c all purpose flour
1t baking soda
1-1/2 t cinnamon
1-1/2t ginger
1/2 cloves
1/4t allspice
1/4t pepper
1/4t salt
12 T unsalted butter, softened
1/3c packed dark brown sugar
1t vanilla extract
1/2 c molasses

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1/2 c of the sugar in a shallow dish for coating and set aside. Whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, pepper, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and remaining 1/3c white sugar together in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the molasses until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
3. Reduce the speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Give the dough a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is combined.
4. Using wet hands, roll 2 tablespoons of dough at a time into balls, then roll in the sugar to coat and lay on two parchment sheet lined baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and the tops are cracked bu the centers are still soft and underdone (peek through the cracks to check the centers), 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.
5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve arm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

I was bored tonight so thought I'd take a whirl at baking some cookies. I took the cook's route and eyeballed my spices (except for salt; I think for some reason it's important to measure the salt when baking). I also don't have any parchment paper and so turned to the internet. My brain said "There has got to be a way that people made cookies before Parchment paper was invented. Sure enough, I found a recommendation to spray the cookie sheet, so that's what I did. Worked like a charm.

There's a picture of this cookie in the cookbook, and, well, it looks pretty much nothing like what came out of my oven. This cookie has some height and nice little cracks throughout. Mine are flat and for some reason don't have the cracks either. I turned to my fantastic ATK Cookbook and if I'm understanding correctly, I probably overcreamed the butter. I'm not sure how that worked, since I did it for exactly 3 minutes, but perhaps my mixer speed was too high.

Despite the unprettiness of my cookies, they are quite tasty. I like the nice kick of cloves that I got when I bit in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tomato Garlic Ravioli

From Rachael Ray's magazine, link here.

This wasn't really something I liked. I didn't like the inside gunk. I did, however, learn some new tricks. I learned a way to make ravioli without having to make pasta. I learned how to roast garlic.

I also found that it took me nearly 30 minutes to food process everything I was supposed to for this recipe, so if you try it, process in batches then stir it all together OR chop your shrooms a little bit.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pork Milanese

Everyday Italian by Giada DiLaurentis
(the online version is a little bit different from the cookbook version)

1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 large eggs
6 boneless pork loin chops, pounded thin to 1/3 inch-thick (1 1/2 pounds total)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
6 lemon wedges
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Coarsely crush the panko into a large shallow bowl. Stir the cheese into the bread crumbs. Lightly beat the eggs in another large shallow bowl. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt and pepper. Dip the pork, 1 piece at a time, in the egg, allowing the excess to drip off, then dredge the pork in the crumb mixture, patting to coat completely. Place the pork on a small baking sheet.

Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the pork to the hot oil and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then transfer them to a clean baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and fry the remaining pork.

Transfer the pork to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

I chose to omit the keeping warm in the oven part since I was only making 2 chops. Pretty traditional recipe, similar to my Chicken Francaise recipe. It occurred to me that this is how my mom made pork chops when I was a kid. So easy; perfect for after work dinners. I served it with corn and McCain's Potato Wedges, which we loove.

As always, I love a recipe that calls for ingredients I have already, and this was one of those. The only thing missing was the lemon, but we just used bottled lemon juice instead.

Sausage Strata

Recipe to come...

This came out pretty well, but for some reason, there was water in the bottom so the bottom part of the bread was a tad soggy. Otherwise, it was good and sooo easy... love that. Next time, I will add a can of mushroom to the peppers and onions.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Raspberry Crumble Bars

Easy to Bake Easy to Make recipe cards

1-1/4c all purpose flour
1c quick cooking or old fashioned rolled oats
1/2c firmly packed light brown sugar we used dark brown sugar
1/4t baking soda
1/2c butter, softened
1 jar (12 oz) raspberry jam or preserves we used about 2/3 of an 18oz jar

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat an 8" square baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Reserve 1-1/2 c crumb mixture. Press remaining mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Spread jam on crust to within 1/2 inch of edges.
4. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture evenly on top; press gently. Bake until crumb mixture is light brown 20-25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack; cut into bars.

This was my husband's idea. He looked at my cookbook collection and then looked at my box of recipe cards... you know, those ones that come in the mail and they try to get you to sign up... it sounds like a great deal and the ones they send you are just fantastic. Well, once upon a time, they suckered me into it.

This recipe gets marks because we had everything in the cupboard. But, the bars weren't that good. I can't tell you what exactly was not so great about them, but I just wasn't thrilled. In fact, I told him to bring them into work, not only because I didn't want them around for the sake of my waistline, but also because I hoped they would get eaten rather than just thrown in the trash.

Cream of Tomato Soup

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Serves 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

4 T unsalted butter
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained with 3 c of the juice reserved I accidentally used 1 can of crushed tomatoes and one can of diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped fine
2T light brown sugar
1T tomato paste
2T all purpose flour
1-3/4c low-sodium chicken broth I used a whole can
1/2c heavy cream
salt and pepper I omitted salt
cayenne pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the drained tomatoes, onion, brown sugar, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the tomatoes begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the broth and reserved tomato juice, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Puree in batches in a blender until smooth.
3. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the cream. Bring to a brief simmer, then remove from the heat. Season with the salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste before serving.

This soup can be prepared through step 2, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat over low heat before proceeding to step 3.

LOVE THIS. My lunch guests raved about it and asked for the recipe. I am very happy with how this turned out and plan to make it again.

Italian Tuna Casserole

Recipe from: Rachael Ray's Express Lane Meals
Found online at:

Italian Tuna Casserole

Recipe #200806
Rachael Ray
servings click to change U.S./Metric measurement system or number of servings
time to make 44 min 30 min prep
1 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach

1 lb shell pasta (medium or large, with ridges)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

black pepper
2 (6 ounce) cans white tuna in vegetable oil, drained I used 1 can of albacore and 1 can of tuna
1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Not the one? See other Italian Tuna Casserole Recipes

  1. Place spinach on a plate and microwave it for 6 minutes on HIGH to defrost it; place it in a clean kitchen towel and wring it dry; set aside.
  2. While the spinach is defrosting, get a big pot of water on the stove; bring to a boil; then salt the water liberally and cook the shells to al dente.
  3. While the pasta cooks, heat a deep large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add in the olive oil, then melt the butter into the oil.
  5. When the butter melts, add in the onions and garlic; cook 4-5 minutes until tender.
  6. Sprinkle the flour around the pan and cook for a minute, then whisk in the wine—it will cook off and the mixture will thicken almost immediately.
  7. Whisk in the stock, then whisk in the milk and bring it to a bubble.
  8. Reduce heat slightly; season the sauce with nutmeg, hot sauce, and mustard; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Simmer 2-3 minutes to thicken; then add in the spinach, separating it as you add it to the sauce.
  10. Preheat the broiler.
  11. Back to the sauce, add in the tuna, flaking it as you go; then stir to combine.
  12. Heat the spinach and tuna for a minute or so.
  13. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce.
  14. Transfer mixture to a casserole dish; cover it with the cheese.
  15. Place the casserole under the broiler for 2 minutes to brown the edges and the cheese.
  16. Top with parsley and serve.
Although this was relatively easy, it was just "ok." It wasn't anything to write home about and I probably won't make it again. One good thing about this recipe, though, was that I had nearly everything on hand. The only thing I had to buy was the spinach... good deal!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Rock Soup

I found this in Rachel Ray's magazine, but it can also be found on her show's website.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus additional for drizzling
  • 3/4 pound chorizo, casings removed and diced I used leftover ham
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed I used baking potatoes
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 rounded teaspoon (about 1/3 palmful) sweet paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper Omitted
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can diced or stewed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock I used beef broth
  • 2 cups stale bread , cut into bite-size cubes
  • A handful of flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped, optional Omitted.

Aired on:

Yields: 4 servings


Place a medium-size soup pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons EVOO, about 2 turns of the pan. Add the chorizo (or whatever meat you're using) and cook 2-3 minutes, until crispy.


Add the vegetables, paprika, garlic, bay leaf, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 6-7 minutes, until the onions and celery begin to soften.

Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, hot sauce and chicken broth or stock to the pot then raise the heat to bring it up to a bubble. Once bubbling, reduce the heat slightly and simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes (cooking time will depend on the size of the potato pieces). Remove the bay leaf before serving.

To serve, place a handful of bread cubes into each of your serving bowls and drizzle them with some EVOO. Ladle the Rock Soup over the croutons and garnish with some fresh herbs.

Rachael Ray has redeemed herself! This recipe is a keeper in our house for sure. I was so happy to find something that would get rid of our leftover Christmas ham (it was about to go in the trash) as well as some of the other things in our house. Next time, I might or might not omit the chickpeas, since my husband doesn't like them, but he was able to pick them out easily enough.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Rachael Ray lets me down!!

Italian Pasta Bake
Recipe link

2 loaves day-old Italian country bread, crusts discarded, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 pound rigatoni or ziti pasta

4 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup frozen peas

One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes

1 cup heavy cream

1 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


1. Preheat the oven to 375ยบ. Grease a 10-inch springform pan or 4-quart ovenproof bowl. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with bread slices, fitting them tightly; reserve several bread slices for the top.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and heavy cream, mixing until combined, and bring to a simmer. Set aside 1 cup of the sauce.
4. Drain the pasta, add to the sauce in the skillet and toss to coat. Stir in the mozzarella and half of the parmesan. Season with salt. Pour the pasta into the bread-lined pan, pressing down with a wooden spoon. Cover with the remaining bread slices. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
5. Bake the pasta until golden and crusty, about 40 minutes (loosely cover with foil if necessary to prevent overbrowning). Let cool for about 30 minutes, then unmold and slice. Serve with the reserved tomato sauce and extra parmesan.

Ok, Miss EVOO, you've let me down here. This recipe sucked. I found it in the "No Recipe Zone" of her December-January 2008 issue. The magazine showed several steps, a list of ingredients, but the point was to have "NO RECIPE." The magazine also said to see the website for specifics. Well, silly me thought that meant I would be ok without checking the recipe. DUMB...

So I used the springform pan. I didn't know there were HOLES in it... WTF did they have me pour a liquidy sauce into a pan with holes in it? So after making a huge mess on the stovetop, I wrapped the bottom in foil and then put it on a cookie sheet. SIGH. Oh yes, and this is in addition to some of my cream being...lumpy... so I ended up using 1/4 c of heavy cream and a splash of non dairy creamer!!

So the results... the bread on top was HARD. Crispy, yes, but too hard for this dish. The insides were very bland. The only flavor came from the PEAS, of all things. Perhaps there weren't enough tomatoes... oh, that's right, they were all over my stove!!

This is not a keeper.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Easy Chicken Parmesan

From Kraft's Food and Family magazine and

1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
6 Tbsp. KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.)
1-1/2 cups KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Pour sauce into 13x9-inch baking dish. Carefully stir in 4 Tbsp. (1/4 cup) of the Parmesan cheese. Add chicken; turn over to evenly coat both sides with sauce. Cover with foil.

BAKE 30 min. Uncover.

TOP with mozzarella cheese and remaining 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese; continue baking 5 min. or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted.

This was so much easier than the chicken dinner I had planned, plus it used up some items lingering in my fridge. It was super easy and really tasty too. I served it with garlic bread and steamed corn. I believe I used either three or four cheese spaghetti sauce.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hawaiian Chicken Burgers

Hawaiian Chicken Burgers
Better Homes and Gardens Chicken Cooking For Today Copyright 1993
I got this from

1 beaten egg
¼ cup fine dry seasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons chopped water chestnuts
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pound raw ground chicken
¼ cup bottled sweet-and-sour sauce I used teriyaki
4 canned pineapple rings
4 kaiser rolls or hamburger buns, split and toasted
shredded spinach I omitted

In a medium bowl combine egg, bread crumbs, water chestnuts, ginger, salt and pepper. Add ground chicken and mix well. Shape into four ¾-inch patties.

To grill, place patties on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals; cook for 15 to 18 minutes or till no longer pink, turning once and brushing with sweet-and-sour sauce during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Meanwhile, place pineapple slices on grill rack. Cook for 5 minutes, turning as needed. I did it all on the Foreman Grill.

To serve burgers, sprinkle bottom half of each bun with some shredded spinach. Top with patties. Brush patties with sweet-and-sour sauce and top with pineapple slices.

Makes 4 servings.

This was just ok. I might not have used enough teriyaki sauce, or maybe sweet and sour would really make a difference. I felt the only part of the sandwich that was actually good was when I had a bit of pineapple; everything else was just bland.

We only used half the mixture, since there are only two of us, and will freeze the rest to make again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Crock Pot Lasagne, take 2!

This time around, I made the crock pot lasagna with hot turkey sausage. A BIG HIT! I also was a little bit short on tomato sauce (I had 8 oz too little), so after layering everything, I added some jarred spaghetti sauce. Worked pretty well!

Layered Chopped Salad

A friend of mine made this so I asked for the recipe. I don't know from which cookbook it came, but do know that it was a kosher one.

4 tablespoons mayo
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 (0.7 oz packets dried Italian seasoning)
Prepare the dressing at least 2 hours in advance. Mix the mayo, vinegar and Italian seasonings together. Cover and refrigerate. Wait to dress the salad with it until right before you serve.
1 (16 oz) bag frozen peas (I omitted)
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained
3 cups (1 10 oz bag) shredded cabbage (I used about half of the bag)
1 head shredded lettuce (I used a bag of Romaine hearts)
1 red pepper, sliced
1 (11 oz) can corn nibblets, drained
1 bunch scallions, chopped (I omitted)
1 (10 oz) bag shredded carrots (4-5 medium carrots shredded)
3-4 cucumbers, peeled and sliced (I omitted)
3-4 roma tomatoes, sliced (or 2 cups grape tomatoes)
1 1/2 - 2 (15 oz) cans French fried onions
Place the peas in the bottom of the trifle bowl in an even layer. Carefully add even layers of chickpeas, cabbage (I go light on the cabbage b/c it takes up a lot of room in the bowl), lettuce, red pepper, corn, scallions, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. Before serving pour the dressing over the tomato layer and let seep down. Sprinkle with French fried onions.

This was a big hit--everyone commented that they didn't want to eat it because it looked so pretty. I think the recipe definitely calls for too much onions--I served it on the table for everyone to put on themselves. I also passed the dressing. This was a big hit, and it was good for leftovers too!

Salsa Stoup and Double Decker Baked Quesadillas

Recipe courtesy: Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats...

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of pan, plus some for brushing tortillas
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped I used a jar of sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped with greens
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes (I used diced)
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley (I used dried cilantro)
6 flour tortillas, 6 to 8 inches (I used whole wheat tortillas)
1 cup shredded Cheddar, available in pouches on dairy aisle
3 scallions, chopped (I omitted)
4 ounce brick Pepper Jack or chipotle cheese, shredded, about 1 cup
Sour cream, to pass at table

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan and the jalapenos, bell pepper, onions, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper then saute veggies 5 minutes, add tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and stock and bring soup to a bubble. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in cilantro.

Paint 1 side of 2 tortillas with oil and place them next to each other, oiled side down, on a large cookie sheet. Mix cheddar with scallions and divide the cheese between the tortillas evenly. Top with another tortilla and top each of those with equal amounts of Pepper Jack cheese. Set the last tortillas on top and brush tops with extra-virgin olive oil. Cook 10 minutes in the oven to melt cheese and crisp up tortillas. Cool quesadillas 5 minutes to set then cut each quesadilla into 6 pieces.

Serve bowls of stoup with 3 wedges quesadilla along side each bowlful and sour cream for topping either.

This was a pretty good meal. The "stoup" was a little thinner than I expected, and I added way too much in terms of the jalapenos, but it was tasty. I did package some leftover for lunch tomorrow. The quesadillas were a little bland, in that it was only two types of cheese, but between the two of us, we ate all of it (despite the recipe's making four servings). Maybe we'll add some chicken or something to the quesadillas in the future.
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