Tuesday, January 18


I bought brie for myself and needed to do something else with it after eating it on bread with chipotle raspberry sauce for two days straight. I also had some sad looking tomatoes, looking on the extra juicy side.

Do all my recipes seem to originate with stories of how I'm trying to get rid of leftovers or clean out the dregs of my pantry and freezer? Evidently.

Brie Bruschetta
3 cloves garlic
good olive oil
good fresh bread such as ciabatta, 10-12 slices
two ripe tomatoes
4 oz of brie
cracked pepper
italian seasonings
In a small ramekin covered with foil, bake 3 finely diced cloves of garlic in about an inch of olive oil for 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Then put the oven on broil and move a rack close to the broiling coil. Under the broiler, toast one side of your bread slices on a baking sheet

Half the tomatoes and generously rub the cut side on the untoasted side of the bread slices. Basically, you want the tomato to soak into the bread. Brush the baked garlic oil on the slices, sprinkle with Italian spices and cracked pepper. Spread on the brie, or place on thin slices, if spreading is difficult.

Broil the slices until cheese is melted and edges of bread begin to look toasted. About 2-3 minutes.


Tuesday, January 11

blackberry fage

Operation Clean Out Freezer and Pantry is in full force.

After the pasta frozen fruit is next on the hit list. I have frozen cranberries, peaches, blackberries and strawberries. Since this stuff isn't in season anyway, now is a great time to start using it!

{blackberry yogurt}
heaping 1/2 c. frozen blackberries
1 c. greek yogurt
2 T. granola (or Grape Nuts - if you're in OCOF&P)
2 t. honey

Heat blackberries in a coffee mug for 1-2 minutes in the microwave until thawed. To thawed berries (and resulting liquid that I kept for sweetness) mix yogurt, granola & honey.

Sunday, January 2

cheesy tomato penne bake

This was a combination of a few recipes from my new The Complete Vegetarian cookbook I found for half off at B&N yesterday. It has TONS of great sauce recipes, pasta recipes, appetizer, stuffed vegetable recipes and a billion different ways of incorporating nuts and beans into recipes. Not that I'm a vegetarian per say, but I like eating nuts, vegetables and beans more than meat, typically, and the typical meat portions are hard to cook for just the two of us.

Anyway, I added ground turkey I had frozen from another dish to this recipe, used a tomato sauce recipe from the book and made a really easy cheese sauce to hold it all together. The cookbook's author, Rose Elliot, used the cheese sauce in a couple of her lasagna dishes, but called for egg to hold her penne bake together. (However, I buy good, expensive eggs to eat for breakfast and quite honestly didn't want to use up my good eggs on a baked pasta dish) I had tons of cheddar cheese I was ready to use up and had been wanting to make my own tomato sauce for a while. Also, as I think about moving, I get frustrated with the crazy assortment of pastas I have stuffed in the back of the pantry. Two separate bags of, half used orzo, two versions of penne and enough spaghetti to feed a village. So this allowed me to get rid of the remainders of a penne bag as well!

cheesy penne pasta bake
1 cup penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/2 c. reserved pasta water
1/4 to 1/2 lb ground turkey, cooked and finely crumbled
tomato sauce:
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
2 T. olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
cheese sauce:
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
5 - 6 oz milk
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. pepper
3/4 c. cheddar cheese or other sharp cheese
1/4 c. bread crumbs
Heat olive oil in large skillet or saucepan with lid. Cook onions covered with one bay leaf, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir briefly. Add tomatoes, seasonings and reserved pasta water. Allow to simmer about 25 minutes until visibly reduced. Add salt, pepper and italian seasonings to taste. Remove bay leaf.
Make the cheese sauce. I found a rubber whisk worked better than a metal one had. In pot that you made the pasta in, melt butter on medium heat with second bay leaf until bubbly. Add flour and whisk until smooth and slightly darkened in color. Remove bay leaf. Add about 1/3 of the milk and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the rest of the milk and whisk. Whisk until thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in all but 1/4 cup of the cheese, allowing each addition to melt. Add spices.
In a small baking dish (I used what I think was about a 9 X 5 pyrex) combine pasta, ground turkey, half of the bread crumbs, and all but about a 1/4 of the cheese sauce. Spread the rest of the cheese sauce on top, sprinkle with remaining cheese, remaining bread crumbs and some cracked black pepper. Bake on 350 for about 25 minutes.

{photo belongs to kraft as i'm too lazy to upload mine!}