Monday, January 19, 2009

Week One, trial and error....

A friend of mine, who's a great cook, came for dinner this past Saturday night. Every time we've eaten at their house the food has been fantastic. For dinner I made Jambalaya, which I kept insisting is a very simple recipe. Prep time was about 15 minutes, and then it cooks on the stove for about 45 min-what could be easier?! I think she was slightly incredulous. She told me that one of the reasons that she finds it difficult to cook well during the week, is that she's not organized enough to do it. Organization is key to good cooking!

So, that got me thinking. I would create a weekly blog where I would list the recipes that I am making for the week, as well as a shopping list. Yes, it is slightly egotistical to think anyone would give a rat's ass as to what I am making for the week, but if it helps one busy mom out then it's all worth it. Plus, when you're cooking for your family every freakin' night, sometimes it's hard to be creative and think of what to make!

Now, I'm a realist. I know that some nights you just need to order a pizza. That's why I'm going to give you four recipes. I'll try to make sure that one of the recipes can be used for a "left-over" night, and then you have one night for take out, tuna sandwiches-whatever. The weekends are up to you!

Feel free to substitute according to your diet, whole milk replace with fat free, Italian sausage replace with turkey or chicken. Remember, these recipes are for our families, so they don't need to be that impressive, just tasty!

I would love feedback on the recipes as well. Anything you substituted, or added. Don't worry, future blogs will be more concise. I'll get right to the recipes. I created this blog later then I would have liked. I will aim to have them created on Saturday evening or Sunday morning. Enjoy!-Jenn

This week's recipes: Jambalaya, Salmon Burgers with Dill Sauce, Country Turkey Casserole, Baked Ziti with Spinach

Items you may already have in the pantry or fridge:

vegetable oil

olive oil

dried basil

dried thyme

bay leaves

cayenne pepper



hot sauce

white wine



Shopping List


2 onions

1 green bell pepper

1 red onion

1 bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley

1 lemon

1 bunch of dill

1 bag of spinach

2 lb turkey, chicken or Italian sausage (this is for two different recipes)

1/2 lb ham

16 oz chicken broth

white rice

14 oz canned tomatoes (can use diced, with basil)

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 salmon fillets (or 3 6 oz cans of salmon)

1 8 oz cream cheese

heavy cream

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can cream of potato soup

2 cooked turkey breasts OR 1 rotisserie chicken (Stop and Shop sells the turkey breasts cooked)

4 cups of prepared herb seasoned stuffing

16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

8 oz Parmesan cheese

10 oz penne pasta

2 8 oz cans sliced carrots

2 8 oz cans sliced green beans


3 tbsp vegetable oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 onion

1/2 green bell pepper

1 sprig of fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 bay leaf

cayenne pepper to taste

1 pound chicken, turkey or Italian sausage

1/2 pound ham

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup dry white wine OR additional cup chicken broth

1 cup uncooked white rice

1 cup canned tomatoes, with liquid

hot pepper sauce to taste

Chop garlic, onion and green pepper. Snip parsley; crumble basil and thyme. Place herbs in a small bowl with bay leaf, chili powder and cayenne pepper.

Heat oil over medium heat in large heavy pan or dutch oven. Add garlic, onion, bell pepper, herbs and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are almost tender. 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut sausage an ham into 1/2 inch pieces. Add sausage, ham, broth, wine (if using), rice and tomatoes to vegetables. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender about 40-45 minutes.

Serve with hot pepper sauce. Serve with garlic bread. Makes about 6 servings.

Grilled Salmon Burgers with Dill Sauce
2 salmon fillets, skinned and chopped
2 tbsp chopped red onion
1 egg
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

2 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped dill
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

For burgers: combine salmon, red onion, egg, grated lemon rind, juice and pepper. Form into 6 four inch patties. Chill for two hours.
For the sauce: In a small saucepan or microwave safe bowl, melt the cream cheese with heavy cream. Cool a few minutes. Stir in the dill, salt and pepper; set aside.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook patties 3 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Serve topped with sauce.

Serve with choice of steamed vegetables or green salad.

Country Turkey Casserole

1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of potato soup
1 cup of milk
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/8 tsp pepper
4 cups cooked cut up vegetables
2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
4 cups prepared herb stuffing

Mix soups, milk, thyme, pepper, vegetables and turkey/chicken in 3 qt shallow baking dish. Top with stuffing.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot, serves 5.

Serve with a Caesar salad and prepared cranberry sauce.

Baked Ziti with Spinach

3/4 pound Italian sausage, cut into pieces

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 28-oz can of peeled tomatoes

10 oz penne pasta, cooked

1 10 oz bag of spinach, chopped

6 oz grated mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Meanwhile, heat saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and onion and saute until sausage is cooked through, approximately 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. combine pasta, spinach, mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese in large bowl. Stir in tomato and sausage mixture. Transfer into a baking pan and pour remaining Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

**Substitute whole wheat penne, add 8 oz ricotta cheese to mixture, and top with mozzarella cheese**

Serve with salad and Italian bread.


Linda said...

I did a version of the Country Turkey Casserole last night! Didn't have all of the ingredients but looking forward to doing it again with the stuffing. YUMMY and very easy! We had so much leftover that we have to put off the salmon until tomorrow.

Linda said...

loved the was both light and rich at the same time...unlike any kind of salmon we've ever husband was making 'yummy sounds' i had never heard from his mouth before. make these as soon as you can-you won't be disappointed!