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Friday, May 30, 2008

Grannie's Iris

These iris are from my Grandmother's old iris terrace. She had some of the most incredible flowers. After she died, I was visiting with my Grandpa and I asked him about the old flowers. He said he mowed them down because he could not take care of them any more. I went out back to her old garden and was amazed that some of the iris were still there, tiny and struggling to grow. I used a kitchen soon and dug some of them up in the pouring rain and transplanted them at my new home. I think of Granny when they bloom and took some of them to her grave site this year with my Mom. Granny was a great gardener, cook and she inspires me today.

Ranchero Stuffed Shells

Once upon a time in a land far, far away......Well, it wasn't all that far away, (it was Grandview after all), I had the perfect job. The perfect job for me, that is. I was the Associate Product Manager for the cooking line at The House of Lloyd. I was able to work with some of the best people ever and deal with food related items. I was involved in coming up with new products, testing the prototypes, writing up the use instructions and catalog descriptions and coming up with the recipes for the product and for the website. I was constantly going through cookbooks and magazines looking for recipes that I could rework and I have so many of those recipes still. The one I am posting is from that time. I reworked it , but will redo it again. The shell stuffing is perfect, but the sauce needs help.
I left my job at The House of Lloyd before they finally closed up. My boss there was the worst boss a person could ever dream of, seriously. I called her Ugzilla behind her back and lost a minute of my life each time I had to come face to face with her. It was really too bad because everyone else that worked there were incredible. "Diane" had some major issues, though and I could only take so much of her. I learned so much there and will always think of it as "my perfect job".

Ranchero Stuffed Shells

1 (16 oz) package jumbo pasta shells, cooked until barely tender
1 lb. ground turkey
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. cumin
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
1/2 lb. sharp cheddar, shredded
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. black pepper

For sauce, heat oil in large skillet. Add garlic and onion and cook until lightly browned. Add turkey and brown. Drain grease. Add tomatoes and green chiles, tomato paste, oregano, cilantro and cumin. Cook until heated through. Combine cheeses, eggs, chopped parsley and pepper in a bowl and stuff into shells. Place a layer of sauce in the bottoms of 2- 11x13 inch baking pans. Place shells, stuffed sides up into pans, keeping in one layer only. Spoon remaining sauce over shells, bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Friday, May 23, 2008

More Flowers


Here's another iris from my garden. Unfortunately, they won't be blooming for the garden tour in June, so I thought I would share some of them on the blog.

Peanut Butter Pie

This is a simple recipe for a pie with big flavor. If you like peanut butter, you'll love this recipe and since it comes from Cooking Light you'll love the fact that it is not all that fattening. The recipe makes 2 pies with 10 slices each containing 302 calories and 10 fat grams. This comes from their Sept. 2007 magazine.

Peanut Butter Pie

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup natural-style, reduced fat creamy peanut butter ( like Smuckers)
1 (8oz) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (14-oz) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
12 ounces frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
2 (6 oz) reduced-fat graham cracker crusts
20 tsp. fat free chocolate sundae syrup

Combine powdered sugar, peanut butter and cream cheese in large bowl. Beat with mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add milk; beat until combined. Fold in whipped topping. Divided evenly between 2 crusts; chill 8 hours ( pies will have a soft fluffy texture). Cut in wedges; drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pasta With Pancetta and Broccoli


This was a very simple recipe that I prepared last night. The recipe may have come from Gourmet magazine, but I'm not 100% sure on that one. The recipe should have been prepared with orecchiette, but I didn't have any so I used cellentani. The orecchiette would have held the topping much better, but sometimes you gotta go with what you've got. The magazine recipe also called for a 10 oz box of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, drained and patted dry. I used fresh broccoli that I steamed in the microwave first. This dish would be great with broccoli rabe if you can find it at your grocery. I used to grow it in my veggie garden, but gave that garden up, because I was tired of fighting the rabbits, deer and squirrels for the produce. This recipe serves four.
Pasta with Pancetta and Broccoli
3/4 lb. pasta
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 Tbsp. pine nuts
3 oz. pancetta, coarsely chopped
5 scallions, thinly sliced
10 oz. fresh, steamed broccoli
Fresh grated Parmigiano- Reggiano
Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until al dente. While pasta cooks, heat butter and oil with garlic in a 12 inch heavy skillet over medium high heat until garlic starts to sizzle. Add nuts and cook, stirring, until pale golden. Discard garlic and stir in pancetta and scallions, cook 1 minute. Add broccoli and a 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook over medium high heat, stirring, four minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, drain pasta and stir into broccoli mixture. Add some reserved water to moisten if needed. Serve with grated cheese.

Back Up And Running


Wow, it's been awhile since I've sat down at the computer! My new job is keeping me very busy and very tired. We've also been busy getting Mom set up in her new apartment and busy working on the yard so that it will look perfect for the Northland Garden Club's tour on June 22. Then we had the tornado come through and we were without Internet for a week. A tree came down in the backyard bringing down the electric, phone and cable lines and the Time Warner people were having some serious communication issues on how to handle their lines. I also lost my camera with all of the recent recipes that I prepared, so some posts will be picture free. For now, I will be using my old camera.