Posts Tagged ‘ricotta’

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

When I first started this food blogging thing, I submitted several pictures to websites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker only to be consistently rejected. Honestly I cannot blame them as my pictures during those times weren’t that wonderful (as many food bloggers can relate to with their first photos). Now that I have a nice camera and a little more experience, I decided it was time to try them out again. And guess what? I got my first submissions onto both sites yesterday! The Smoked Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies made it onto both Foodgawker and Tastespotting, and the Cookie Dough Oreo Cake made it onto Tastespotting. Of course several others were rejected but that seems to be pretty typical and I still have plenty of learning to do when it comes to food photography.

Most of the time when my pictures don’t come out perfectly it is because I am in a hurry or don’t have the best lighting. It is especially difficult when you have hungry eaters anxiously waiting to eat the item you are photographing. Take these spaghetti squash lasagna boats for example: the lighting was not ideal but three other people were ready to dig in. I love cooking for more than just myself, but always feel bad making people wait until the photoshoot is done. It is a tricky thing to balance! Lighting aside, these lasagna boats were a delicious, low carb alternative to traditional lasagna with a fun presentation.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

One year ago: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two years ago: Gluten-Free Bananas Foster Muffins

Three years ago: Cashew Chicken
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Skillet Lasagna

After sharing my dad’s cookie recipe yesterday, I figured I should go ahead and share another one of his recipes. Over the years, this skillet lasagna was a popular request for when I came home for the holidays (followed by a request for his apple harvest oatmeal or applesauce pancakes in the morning). The entire recipe is cooked in one large skillet and takes under 30 minutes making it an easy decision for a weeknight meal.

Skillet Lasagna

In packing news, I’ve already gone through two rolls of packing tape! I knew I should’ve purchased the bulk package. I ran out of the second roll while packing up my root beer collection. Which by the way, taking that down and the shelving, aside from being a pain in the butt, left that wall feeling very barren and sad. Packing is super lame.

One year ago: Chili-Lime Roasted Butternut Salad
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Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

Before I talk about food, I forgot to tell you how badly they butchered my last name at graduation. Over the years my family and I have heard all kinds of mispronunciations but one version tends to prevail and I am always prepared to hear it. However, sometimes people like to get creative by adding extra letters and graduation day was no exception. It was so bad even my own family and friends weren’t sure if it was actually me, despite prefacing it with my first and middle names. “Va-see-lick” – where the heck did you see an L in my last name, sir? Were you thinking of a basilisk? But I couldn’t be upset for long because he knew he screwed it up and mouthed a very apologetic “I’m sorry!” as I walked up the stairs. He even pulled me aside afterwards to apologize again and ask me how to pronounce my last name. Oh the joys of having an unusual last name (although I still like it despite all that).

These chicken rolls look more difficult to execute than they truly are (just like my last name). A ricotta-spinach mixture is rolled up in a thin chicken breast, dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, and then baked until crispy before topping with marinara, fresh mozzarella and basil. The end result is an entree that looks fancy without all the fuss. I made these on Thursday last week for dinner, ready upon the arrival of my parents (for graduation the next morning) and served with a mixed spinach salad. It was a hit! And then we had pie for dessert O:-).

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

One year ago: Buttermilk Biscuits

Three years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
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Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce

With my dissertation behind me and only 21 days until I graduate and get hooded for my Ph.D. you’d think I would be care-free and excited. Not so much, more like the same old stress and anxious. I am still working on a couple last experiments per reviewers comments on my paper, job hunting, and worrying about what I am going to do if I don’t have a job lined up by the end of January when my lease runs out. With any luck that last item won’t become a reality, but in the meantime it’s a good time for some comfort food.

Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce 1

Stuffed shells are great comfort food. Those big shells hug in their cheesy goodness of a filling while being wrapped up in a warm blanket of sauce. Sounds like the life, doesn’t it? This sauce happens to be extra special because it is a pumpkin alfredo sauce with sage. Now wait, don’t get discouraged thinking you have to make your own alfredo sauce (but you can if you want). This recipe uses a premade jar of alfredo mixed up with pumpkin puree and a couple other flavor additions to create a great fall pasta dish.

Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce 2

One year ago: Individual Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Two years ago: Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Three years ago: Veggie Lasagna
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Eggplant Manicotti with Creamy Pesto Filling

Every day is a battle to actually prepare a meal at dinnertime for myself instead of opening a blue box of mac and cheese or swinging by Taco Bell. I am actually impressed by only caving once thus far. Oddly enough I spruced up that blue box by topping it off with some lentil soup and fried okra. That is what happens when you are hungry and rummage through the pantry and freezer for random items. Oddly enough it was quite delicious and I may have to do it again the next time I cave.

But on the days I do manage to cook it is rarely anything that takes more than 30 minutes of preparation. And yes, this recipe today falls into the category. It may look fancy and difficult but the hardest part is slicing the eggplant, unless you’re smart and pull out your mandoline (I own one but always forget). The next hardest part? Not eating the entire pan by yourself in one sitting. The creamy pesto was freaking amazing and I wanted to bathe in it.

Eggplant Manicotti with Creamy Pesto Filling

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Pizza Tacos

It is a rare day to find flights for under $300, even more so under $200, but yesterday was one of those days and I snatched it up as fast as I could confirm the time and place of events for that weekend. This flight purchase was for my friend Amber’s wedding in October, another of which I am a bridesmaid! The flight actually ended up being free because I had accrued enough miles to do so. I should have signed up for the Amex Delta Skymiles CC a long time ago. Imagine all the free flights, free 1st checked bag, and group 1 seating I could have been enjoying all these years!

But anywho, to go along with the theme of frugality, here is a pizza taco recipe that I was able to make almost without a trip to the grocery store. Lately I have been trying to cook more with the items I already have stocked, and surprisingly for this meal I had every ingredient on hand except for the ricotta. That goes to show how well stocked my kitchen is for a girl living with no one else besides her cat. Sometimes I try to estimate how long I could survive without leaving my home, and appreciate that I do not need to test it for real because I covet fresh fruit far too much.

P.S. This recipe is a great, quick weeknight meal!

Pizza Tacos

One year ago: Easy S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches

Two years ago: Eggplant Stuffed Shells
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Pepperoni Pasta Bake

There are times when I go to the grocery store and somehow leave without actually getting everything on my list. And then there are times when I cross every last thing off, only to get home and realize I didn’t buy enough of something or forgot to put something on the list in the first place. Enter improvisation. When making these stuffed shells, I substituted broccoli for shredded zucchini because I failed to buy any, and also some of the ricotta for Greek yogurt because I didn’t buy enough! Some people say you shouldn’t admit to screwing up and instead say it was all planned out from the beginning. However, I prefer admitting how awesome my creative skills under pressure because these shells were still awesome.

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Two years ago: Butterscotch Haystack Cookies
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Sun-Dried Tomato Ravioli with Basil Cream Sauce & Jumbo Reese’s Heart Stuffed Cookie

Happy Valentine’s Day!! What do you have planned today? I am going to the Brooks Museum with some friends for a visiting internet cat video film festival! It’s going to be absolutely ridiculous and I cannot wait. After all, I don’t need to do anything mushy today because I already celebrated Valentine’s Day over the past weekend when I was visiting my boyfriend. We actually made the ravioli I am sharing with you today!

I packed my ravioli press in my luggage, but unfortunately my stand mixer + pasta rolling attachments were unable to come with me. So the BF used his muscles to roll out this dough by hand with a rolling pin. Serious dedication. He even got creative and made a little heart ravioli for me out of the last pieces of dough (which you can make out on the top of the pile).

So stay at home tonight with your favorite person, and make this dish for/with them. Serve with some roasted brussels sprouts and a nice glass of wine. Oh and don’t forget dessert! How about an easy jumbo cookie stuffed with a 5 ounce heart-shaped Reese’s? Scroll down for that lovely treat.

In mom news, her MRA had to be postponed yesterday due to some minor things and as a result was not able to go home yesterday. But I talked to her and she sounds good although still tired. Best part is her vision has already started to improve!

Sun-Dried Tomato Ravioli

One year ago: Raspberry Hugs Cheesecake Blossoms

Two years ago: Sweet Swirl Cookies
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Creamy Ricotta Spinach & Shells

Cooking for one is a challenge. Normally I don’t mind leftovers because they are great for lunches, but I find myself overrun with leftovers these days. Both in meals and desserts. I am convinced at times my fridge looks like I am feeding a family of 4. I have been freezing as much as I can but at the rate I’ve been going, soon my ice maker will be filled with non-ice items.

Every now and then I run across a single-serving meal that is quick and easy to make, and it immediately goes on my to-make list. This simple yet delicious pasta dish is great for a busy weeknight or when the thought of adding another tupperware full of leftovers to your fridge makes you shudder.

Two years ago: Iced & Spiced Applesauce Cookies
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Chicken Pesto Lasagna Rolls

With cooler temperatures creeping up on me, I am desperately trying to use up all the basil leaves left on my basil plants before they start to freeze off at night. It will likely result in a freezer-full of pesto because new ones sprout up when I’m not looking. Any other basil-utilizing suggestions?

Of course I couldn’t freeze all of the pesto, so I made these lasagna rolls that I had bookmarked long ago. The homemade pesto in this was essential for me. Even though I’ve never made this recipe with store-bought pesto, I could definitely tell that there was fresh pesto rolled up in there. Good thing I have a stock-pile of homemade pesto to last me through the winter so I can make these lasagna rolls again. Maybe I’ll venture into the world of homemade lasagna noodles next time. Look at me living on the edge :-P.

Also, don’t forget to add you favorite brownie/bar recipe to the #BYOBrownies link up party!

One year ago: Pesto Burgers
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