Tag Archives: parmesan cheese

Ground Turkey Eggplant Lasagna

Mixing favorite veggies in an attempt to make a one-pot dinner resulting in our new favorite lasagna; although, I have to wonder if the new marinara sauce is to blame.

Ground Turkey and Veggie Lasagna

Ingredients:

8 0z Lasagna (half a box) noodles

One eggplant, 3/4 skin removed (potato peeler works nicely) and cubed

8 oz sliced mushrooms

Handful (about 4 oz) of spinach, roughly chopped

One jar (40 oz) of Victoria White Linen Marinara Sauce

One shallot, chopped

4 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

8 oz cottage cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided

Leftover chopped tomatoes (about 7 oz canned)

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Cooking spray

Layer in Crock-Pot on High for 3 ½ hours. 

I began with browning the ground turkey in olive oil on medium-high heat with salt and pepper 1/4-½ teaspoon of each. After draining the excess fat, add chopped shallots to the pan, stir in. Add eggplant, salt and pepper (1/4-½ teaspoon). Sauté until the eggplant is translucent. 

Coat inside of Crock-Pot with cooking spray. Add ingredients from pan to pot.

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Oops, forgot to sauté the mushrooms! Into the pan they go with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until translucent!

 

I almost forgot garlic, too! Right on top of the cooked mix worked out perfectly. (photo below)

 

Minced garlic, then chopped tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and marinara sauce. Generally when you do lasagna, you layer it three times, but I was running out of time. I needed to get the cooking time going on the Crock-Pot for this meal to be ready for dinner. I did two layers with the mushrooms and tomatoes only in the bottom layer and spinach only in the top layer.

The first layer is always sauce, so since I had half of the meat and veggies already in the pot, I added the tomatoes and half of the sauce over it. Then all of the mushrooms, a layer of pasta, 4 oz cottage cheese, 2 c mozzarella, ½ c Parmesan. Repeat meat mixture, sauce, add spinach, continue with remaining cheese. Cover and cook.

 The result? It was that melt-in-your-mouth goodness that you get from fresh, savory ingredients. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but it was like comfort food…and fusion…delicious!

 

 

 

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Garlic Parmesan Chicken

Too easy! The chicken was already perfectly cooked in the Crock-Pot but with only salt and pepper as seasoning, and I wanted to add a sauce or additional seasoning so that we weren’t just having “roast chicken” again. I put it in the fry pan with some olive oil to brown both side, but as I was browsing recipes for chicken, I found this quick and minimal recipe. All I had to do was add thyme and Parmesan cheese!

I made a mess with how quickly this was done. I could have used a lower heat and waited a little longer before flipping the chicken; then I wouldn’t have the little pieces tear away and stick to the pan, but the resulting flavor was delicious! The thyme infused olive oil and chicken, and the Parmesan cheese gave it a little crust and a little salty taste, but just the right amount. Yum!

Steam some green beans in a bag quickly in the microwave (about three minutes) with some salt and pepper. You could add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to tie it all together, as they say in cooking, et voila!

 

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a46066/slow-cooker-garlic-parmesan-chicken-recipe/

Lemon Chicken Piccata

I love finding a variety of recipes with the same main ingredients. It just takes a simple change in seasoning to make a recipe different, and seasonings keep well throughout the year if stored properly, so if you cook as much as I do, it’s worth having an assortment of dried herbs and spices in your kitchen. I also have a small garden of our most used herbs growing fresh in the backyard. The pint of cream I bought for this recipe, I split to also use for the Zuppa Toscana so as not to waste the cream which is not a common item in my kitchen. So, on with the show…

There’s an Italian grill chain restaurant that makes a piccata which is actually my favorite dish to order making this recipe that much more satisfying to be able to cook at home. I absolutely love cooking and love knowing exactly what is in my food.

I think I want to make double the recipe next time! There just wasn’t enough leftovers.

Here’s the sauce with all the yummy bits from browning the chicken. Add heavy cream.

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Add capers and lemon juice. *I’ve made this over and over, and the milk can curdle easily, so adding before serving tastes just as good as the recipe calls for it and saves you from that. Unless you’re a pro at cooking with milk and cream, I would recommend it at the end which also gives you that fresh taste.

The chicken breaded and browned a nice golden brown. Remove from pan to finish the sauce. It has a nice crust of parmesan and flour with salt and pepper.

I actually cheated and cooked frozen chicken in the crockpot for four hours on High. It always comes out perfectly cooked and tender that way. Cold from refrigerating it the night before, I then breaded it and browned it on the skillet with olive oil. I think there’s less chance of it drying out if you start with cold chicken since the breading doesn’t take long to brown. It came out perfectly delicious.

Creamy Lemon Parmesan Chicken (Piccata)

More Sweet Bread Sliders

Take your pick. Mushroom Swiss Turkey Burger or Chicken Parmesan. Either way, a nice variety to add to your collection of fun, yet fancy, finger foods.

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Mushroom Swiss Turkey Burger with Potato Salad. Photo by M. Sandoval
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Chicken Parmesan

For Chicken Parmesan

Two chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

Marinara Sauce to coat (about 1/3 cup)

Fresh mozzarella to cover chicken, fresh basil

Top buns.

Add 3 cloves minced garlic, 4 tablespoons melted butter, 2 tablespoons basil, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese mix…

Bake 350°F for 20 minutes.

This reminded me of a caprese salad with the fresh mozzarella, basil, and marinara; yet it was very Chicken Parmesan with the roasted chicken, crispy, buttery sweet rolls, melty mozzarella, Parmesan, and marinara. My tastebuds teetered with the flavors but were very much pleased. The fresh ingredients lent to the overall sandwich having a very mild flavor, very appropriate for kids, but with the garlic giving it a kick (you could just pour the garlic mix over half of the rolls but be sure to brush all of them with butter). This definitely satiates a craving for Italian food. We will be making this again!

There was video where I saw these recipes (link at bottom). One of the ones on the video was for a classic cheeseburger. Right away, I already knew I would be substituting ground turkey for ground beef, but I also thought about what we like on our burgers. When I get a gourmet burger at restaurant, I hope they have something new and innovative for me to taste and eventually attempt at home. For example, Broderick’s has a burger they add mac ‘n cheese to called the Gold Rush. It seems simple enough, but there’s also bacon and garlic aioli added it…flavor explosion in your mouth!

Trying to tune it down a little, though, keeping the calories down but not just having the old lettuce and tomato, I figured mushrooms and what goes great with mushrooms—Swiss cheese. I added chopped shallots for another layer of flavor. It kinda went along the lines of a cheesesteak (if you’ve ever added mushrooms to your cheesesteak). Well, in Las Vegas anyway, there was a Philly cheesesteak shop called Pop’s that served cheesesteaks with whatever veggies you wanted on them; peppers, onions, mushrooms, other. I just remember the meat being so tender whereas previously, I had been turned off by cheesesteaks, the meat being too chewy or having to much fat chunks. Pop’s was the only place I would eat cheesesteaks. I digress.

For Mushroom Swiss


8 oz sliced mushrooms, one chopped shallots

One pound ground turkey shaped to match sweet bread package, bake 350°F for 20 minutes, drain

Assemble burgers, ending with 4 tablespoons melted butter drizzled over top.

More cheese next time or add an aioli! The turkey meat dried out slightly from going back into the oven, but the bread, butter, shallot, mushroom, swiss combo was delicious!

 

Supreme Pizza Casserole

Can’t get easier than this! Pizza is most kid’s favorite food at some point in their lives. This recipe lets you prep the ingredients and then throw everything in the pot to wait for your hungry family…and their friends! It’s filling and serves a crowd, so whether your teens are having a sleepover, you have date night and are getting dinner ready for the kids and sitter, or you’re going out of town and need something to last the family several days while you’re gone, this is a quick and satisfying meal you can customize.

I thought this recipe would be an easy alternative to rolling out pizza dough. It is. You can use whatever pasta you prefer. The meat and veggies are absolutely replaceable. Pick your favorites, get the ingredients for the sauce together, and stir it all into the pot. I would recommend that you cook anything that is fresh and cook it together to give a better flavor to the finished food.

pizza-casserole-ing

There is some cooking involved prior to adding everything to the pot (you have to at least cook any raw meat), but once it’s done, you can leave it. The aroma will lure the kids, spouse, neighbor’s kids, etc., and it serves so many. A batch of this for us lasts in the freezer for months. Even after it’s done cooking, and we’ve had our fill, it doesn’t look like we were able to put a dent in it at all; the leftovers go into storage containers (which I’ve run out of with this and put servings into storage bags to lie flat in the freezer. Freezes quickly, defrost quickly)!

pizza-casserole-steps
Bottom photo by M. Sandoval

The photo collages depict two separate times I’ve made this recipe, one just cooking the meat and the other cooking the meat and veggies first. Sautéing veggies for Italian foods just gives more dimension to the flavor, in my opinion, and you have to cook the meat anyways, so just add the veggies to the pan after the cooked meat with a little olive oil; it will absorb some of the meat yumminess and help deglaze the pan=more flavor and less scrubbing/clean-up!

The recipe:

1 ½ lb ground turkey

1 lb pork sausage

4 jars (14 oz) of pizza sauce

2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

8 oz fresh mushrooms

6 oz pepperoni

½ c chopped shallot

½ c chopped red bell pepper

clove of garlic, minced

1 lb pasta, cooked and drained

olive oil

Tablespoon fennel seed

1/4 each teaspoon salt and pepper

Brown ground turkey and pork in skillet, drain. Add to pot. Heat veggies in skillet with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and about 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper until veggies are transparent. Mix all ingredients except pasta into pot. Cook on Low 3 ½ hours or High 2 hours. Add pasta, cook on High 15-20 minutes.

Also great for potlucks involving kids!

Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo

The jars of Alfredo sauce you can buy nowadays, have some weird ingredients (like rennet which are enzymes from other mammals’ stomachs or maybe that’s in jarred pesto) I would rather not put in my body on a regular basis, and as good and as often as you’ll want to eat this, you won’t want that jar stuff at all!

This is homemade, from scratch Alfredo sauce! It’s perfectly creamy and smooth, goes wonderfully with the tender mushrooms and chicken out of the Crock-Pot, and is sure to be a kid-favorite (maybe not your three-year-old…just hide the mushrooms)!

I  used half and half in place of whole milk here. We always have soy milk which I probably would have used except that I had some half and half leftover from another recipe. Oftentimes, I’m in a whirlwind of ingredients in the kitchen finding substitutes for recipes that I forget even the proportions, whether or not I cut the recipe in half, if I substitute dried herbs for fresh ones, or what I used when I make a sauce from scratch instead of one prepared/store-bought; but that’s the whole point of this blog!

You don’t have to have every single ingredient ever created in your kitchen to make a healthy meal. Keep your basics stocked, build you spice and herb collection, and have fun creating. Food made “with love” is always mindful of the family and what the family enjoys eating, and we all make mistakes here and there, but then you’ll know what ingredients are essential for the flavor you intend. Just remember to take notes!

Fettuccine Alfredo is actually pretty basic. Baked chicken, salt and pepper. Cream-based sauce with your favorite Italian cheeses, a little seasoning. Trial and error will get you to your personal favorite. Just make sure to always season your chicken and veggies. The butter and cream cheese make this recipe especially creamy and kid drool-worthy!

I may have split this recipe in half the first time I made it to try it so if it didn’t work out, I wasn’t wasting so much. I’ve tried many a times to make a low-fat Alfredo sauce, and it’s difficult. You really have to use whole milk or fatter or else the sauce will curdle and you’ll have to start over. There’s a lot of milk fat in this sauce, but it’s oh so scrumptious!

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips

2 packages (8 oz each) cremini mushrooms, cut into thirds

½ teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, cut into cubes

1 ½ cups grated Parmesan Cheese, plus additional for garnish

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into cubes

1 package (1 pound)  uncooked fettuccine

Chopped fresh basil (optional) I used dried basil since it was in the winter.
1. Coat inside of Crock-Pot with cooking spray. Arrange chicken in a single layer in bottom of the pot. Top with mushrooms. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder over mushrooms.

2. Cook and stir cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, milk and butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until smooth and heated through. Pour over mushrooms and chicken mixture, pushing down any that float to surface. Cover; cook on LOW 4 to 5 hours or on HIGH 2 to 2 ½ hours.

3. Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Drain. Add fettuccine to Alfredo sauce and toss gently to combine. Garnish with basil.

Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo, Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Recipes (binder), p. 206, Publications International, Ltd., Lincolnwood, 2013.