Friday, June 27, 2008

Mac & Cheese with Broccoli

I made this last night. I had higher hopes that it might turn out better than my mom's version. Unfortunately it was not as good. Maybe 'cause it was a "light" version. I found the instructions a bit difficult to follow and ended up doing it my own way.


1 large bunch broccoli, cut into bite-size florets and stalks peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound whole wheat elbow pasta
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 3)
3 tablespoons flour
3 1/2 cups low-fat milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
12 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
6 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons bread crumbs


1. Fill a large pot with enough water to reach a depth of 2 inches and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 1 minute; drain and rinse with cold water. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and add the broccoli in an even layer.

2. Fill the same pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain.


Fill a large pasta pot that has a steamer basket with water. Bring to a boil. Add the steamer basket full of broccoli to steam. Take out the broccoli after a minute or so. Add the pasta and cook.

3. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400°. In the same pot (as what? I'm guessing the broccoli? I just used another pot since I saved one with steamer basket in the pasta pot.), melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the flour for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 cup milk until thickened, then whisk in 1 cup more. Whisk the cornstarch into the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk, then whisk the mixture into the pot. Simmer, whisking, until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. (It actually took much longer to thicken for me.) Lower the heat and stir in the cheddar and 4 tablespoons parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the pasta. Spoon the mixture over the broccoli.

4. In a small heatproof bowl, combine the garlic and remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter; microwave at high power until melted, about 20 seconds. Stir in the bread crumbs, the remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Discard the garlic, then sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on the pasta. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

In the end, I still ate it. But prefer my mom's recipe as it tasted much smoother and cheesier. This one had a flour-y taste.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mexican Rice

A perfect complement to Black Bean Enchiladas! It takes about 30 minutes to prepare.


1 cup white rice, long grain (not instant)
1 1/2 cups water
1 small can tomato sauce
1/2 a yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
OR, 1 small can diced green chilies
1 tomato, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp oil


Saute garlic, rice, onions and bell peppers (but not green chilies if using) in a large, deep skillet until onions and peppers are soft.

Add water, tomato sauce, tomato and green chilies, if using. Stir then simmer covered for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for another 10 minutes.

Stir and serve!

Black Bean Enchiladas - easy

These are so easy to make and they are completely meat free! I found this recipe in a Pillsbury or some other cookbook and have been hooked ever since. They are very flexible when it comes to taste, style and ingredients.


1-2 sliced bell peppers (I prefer red or yellow or both), sliced in strips

1 yellow onion, sliced thinly

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained (or cook up your own!)

12 oz of shredded cheese (you pick the type; I like white cheddar or Monterey Jack), leave some extra for topping

4-5 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp oil

1 can of enchilada sauce, red or green (or make your own!)

12 or so tortillas (I like flour, but corn is just fine, too; I've even used wheat)


Warm the enchilada sauce if not already warm while preparing the vegies.

Add garlic to oil in a large skillet. Heat until slightly golden then add the onions and peppers. Stir fry until onions are transluscent.

Remove from pan adding to the black beans and mix.

Warm tortillas before adding a couple of tablespoons of the black been mix, cheese and a tablespoon of sauce. Roll and place in baking dish with some of the sauce spread on the bottom.

When baking dish is filled, top with the remaining sauce and cheese.

Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Serve with Mexican Rice.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spinach Lasagna

I made my 2nd spinach lasagna and it came out great again! I used fresh spinach that I steamed using the boiling water from the lasagna noodles. I bought ricotta cheese (the 2nd time it was fat free) and mozzarella cheese, which I grated myself. I used a bottled pasta bake sauce that had some cheese in the mix. I think that's what made it so tasty.

I love lasagna when it's so tasty and not dry. Even more so when it is meatless. And the spinach was so yummy being that it was fresh and not frozen. This will be made again and again. Who knew lasagna was so easy.

I would really like to try this sausage lasagna that I saw made on an old run of Martha Stewart's tv show. It was piled and stuffed full of 3 kinds of sausage and lots of cheese using sheets of lasagna instead of just the noodles. Wow! That would be a feat!