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Super Stuffed Shells

10 Apr

My boyfriend is an italian-aholic. Anything including pasta, marinara, cream sauce, and cheese he’s all over it. For dinner this weekend I decided to make some a new concoction that might please him.. Naturally, it was Italian themed.

Italian stuffed shells

1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs

1/2 pound cooked Italian sausage
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 14.5 oz canned Italian stewed tomatoes
(I had 5 Roma tomatoes I needed to use so I roasted them with italian seaoning, fresh garlic and 1/2 a chopped small onion  at 425 for about 35 minutes instead of using the canned tomatoes. )
8 ounces (20 to 24) jumbo pasta shells
1 jar prepared marinara sauce
Cook pasta shells as directed on package.
Combine ricotta, 1.5 cups mozzarella, Parmesan, eggs, cooked sausage, spinach, tomato mixture in a large bowl. Prepare a baking dish by spreading about 1/4 of the marinara sauce on the bottom so the shells don’t stick.  After the shells are cooked, fill each shell with the filling and arrange in the baking dish. Top with remaining Marinara sauce and sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 45-50 minutes.
Enjoy!
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Pigs in a Blanket

26 Jan

Gołąbki…Cabbage Rolls…Pigs in a Blanket…

golabkiMy family always called them pigs in a blanket. Probably about 10 years straight I would go to grandmas house to make this traditional polish dish. She had this process down to a science and would make at least a roaster stuffed full every time. We would spend all day chopping, mixing, rolling, waiting, then packaging up enough to send plenty home to each of her kids and grand kids. Don’t worry, I’ve decreased the recipe quite a bit so you won’t need to go buy 6 heads of cabbage.

Ingredients:
1 large head of cabbage, cored
1 Hungarian wax pepper, seeded and chopped into large pieces
a few cloves (6 or so?) of peeled garlic
1 medium onion chopped and sauteed
1 cup cooked rice (we normally prepared this the day before to save time)
1/2 cup quick barley
2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoning salt
Pigs in a Blanket
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce

Preparation:
Fill a pot (large enough to hold the head of cabbage) with enough water to cover the cabbage and cook over medium heat covered. You want to cook the cabbage until it is starting to get translucent and flexible. The cabbage will continue to cook after being rolled so be sure not to overcook it. The outer leaves will loosen first. Once flexible and removed from the head, remove the leaves from the pot and allow to cool. Continue this step until the leaves get too small to roll. The smallest leaves from the center of the cabbage should be chopped and 1/2 should be laid in the bottom of the roasting pan or baking dish along with the garlic cloves and peppers. Once cool, carefully trim the large veins of the cabbage leaves.

Mix the beef, pork, onions, rice, barley, and seasonings together in a large bowl.

In another large bowl combine the tomato ingredients.

Assembly
Lay the cabbage leaf on a flat surface. Get enough meat (generally about 1/2 a cup for a larger leaf) and form into an oblong log. Place the log near the top of the leaf where the vein used to be. Fold in the edges of the cabbage leaf in and roll the rest of the leaf around the log. Place the roll, bottom side (or opening side) down in your roasting pan or baking dish.  Continue this step until all of the cabbage and meat has been used.

Poor the tomato mixture over the top of the pigs and top with any extra cabbage, garlic, Hungarian peppers, salt and pepper.

If you are layering the cabbage rolls, separate the layers with the extra cabbage, garlic, Hungarian peppers, salt and pepper.

My grandma always used a roaster because she was cooking so many. We’d put the roaster at about 350 for the first 2 hours or so, then turn it down to 200 for about 2 hours longer.

I didn’t have a roaster so I lined them up in my slow cooker. I set it on high for the first 3 hours then on low for the last 1 hour.

It’s a time consuming dish, but it’s worth it!
ENJOY!

Cheesy Pasta Bolognese

11 Jan

Cheesy Pasta Bolognese

Cheesy Pasta Bolognese
This is a total comfort food.  I try to lighten up the dish by using light ingredients for my grandpa’s diet. Instead of using heavy cream in the cheese sauce I use skim milk. The sauce is still delicious, but it is much lighter. And instead of regular bacon I use turkey bacon. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 Carrots
1 medium onion
4 stalks of celery
1 garlic clove
1 carton of button mushrooms (any kind you like really)
1 14 oz  Can of diced Italian style tomatoes
1 lb lean ground beef
.5 lb  cooked  chopped bacon (I use turkey bacon)
about half a box of dried penne pasta
2 tbsp butter or margarine
2 tbsp flour
1 cup skim milk
1.5 lb block of  light/skim mozzarella, chopped into bite size pieces
2 tbsp grated/shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chop carrots, onion, celery and mushrooms to bite size pieces. Mince garlic. Sautee carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms and garlic in a pan until soft and onions are translucent. Reserve for later.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the penne. Follow the instructions on the pasta box. Drain and set aside for later.

Brown ground beef and drain excess grease. Add cooked vegetables, tomatoes in canning liquid, and bring to a slight simmer. Reduce heat and stir in chopped bacon.

In a separate pan melt butter. Add the flour and stir for a few minutes just to cook out the flour flavor. Gradually add the milk stirring with a whisk. Bring the liquid mixture up to a light simmer. Add the mozzarella and parmesan, stirring continually until the sauce becomes smooth and thick.

Spread the meat and vegetable mixture  in a 9×13 glass pan. Layer the pasta on top of the meat mixture. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese becomes bubbly and slightly browned.