Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Speedy Pasta In A Pan

By Paul Briand

I’m a news hound, and I have a variety of apps on my BlackBerry smartphone and my Apple iPod Touch to browse headlines and read stories.

I’m also a recipe hound. And there’s an app for that too: Foodily.

I’ve been using the Foodily app on my iPod Touch for a few weeks. Foodily compiles recipes, and, if you see one you like, it connects you to its original source. I recently connected with this recipe for Speedy Pasta In A Pan.

It worked out well, and gives me yet another source of recipes to satisfy my need to find something interesting, something fun to cook and eat at home.

Note: When it says use large skillet, use a very large skillet. You may even want to use a pot. This recipe creates a pretty good sized bulk of sauce, pasta and cheese.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 14-ounce can organic, diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon each chopped fresh basil and oregano
1 pound fresh or defrosted frozen cheese ravioli
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought
8 slices fresh mozzarella, or 3 cups shredded mozzarella

1. Heat a large nonstick pan and drizzle in the olive oil. Over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic until golden;
2. Add the diced tomatoes, basil, and oregano. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes;
3. Remove half the tomato mixture and set aside;
4. Top the tomatoes in the pot with a layer of uncooked ravioli, then a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, a cup of the tomato sauce, and the remaining tomato mixture;
5. Nestle the last raviolis into the pan, topping with the tomato sauce and the mozzarella;
6. Cover the pan with a lid or a layer of foil and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes;
7. Let the dish relax off the heat for a few minutes to let everything settle before serving.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turkey Sloppy Joes

By Paul Briand

It’s a challenge to extract taste while using low-fat ground turkey meat in a recipe.

So I liked the idea of this take on the tradition Sloppy Joe recipe, courtesy of a cooking segment on the Today show fearing "Top Chef" judge Padma Lakshmi.

It takes the turkey and infuses it with a lot of big taste from the garlic, shallots and bay leaves, and adds some kick with the chili-pepper flakes (and jalapenos, if you opt in on that for a topping).

If you really want to go more low fat on this recipe, substitute the hamburger buns for whole what sandwich thins. The buns will run you about 150 calories, while the thins will come in at about 100 calories.

Note: The recipe calls for two cups of hot water. I didn’t use it, didn’t need it.

2 tbsp olive oil
4 peeled whole cloves of garlic
1 cup diced shallots
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3 medium-size bay leaves
1tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red chili-pepper flakes
1 lb ground lean turkey
28 oz can whole tomatoes
6 oz can tomato paste
2 cups hot water
Salt and pepper to taste
6 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split
Dill pickle slices and jalapeno slices, for garnish

1. Heat the olive oil over moderate heat in a deep skillet. Add garlic and stir;
2. After 2 to 3 minutes, add shallots, bell pepper, bay leaves, oregano and red chili flakes. Stir for a few minutes;
3. Add the ground turkey to the skillet and brown for 5 minutes, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon
4. Add canned tomatoes, paste and 2 cups of hot water. Stir;
5. When mixture starts to boil, lower heat and let simmer until thickened, 30 to 40 minutes;
6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir mixture occasionally, breaking up tomatoes into a rich, ragu-like consistency;
7. Add salt and pepper, to taste, then toast buns split-side down on oven rack for 6 to 8 minutes;
8. Discard bay leaves. Spoon sloppy joe mixture on buns and garnish with dill pickle slices or jalapeños.

Click here for recipe card.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Steak with Stout Sauce

By Paul Briand

A recipe with beer in it? I’m definitely in.

Rachel Forrest, the Wine Me, Dine Me food writer for, recently wrote about stout beer and the variety of ways you can use it in cooking.

A sauce for steak caught my eye.

My wife Jane, who’s not big fan of putting any type of sauce or condiment on steak, liked it, comparing it to a much heartier -- and much better -- than a Worcestershire steak sauce.

I liked it so much I used it to smother the fresh-steamed asparagus I had cooked to accompany the steak.

A couple of notes: I used four rump steaks, instead of strip steaks. Also, once the butter/flour mixture goes into the pan, the sauce is likely to thicken up quickly.

5 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
2 12-oz. New York strip steaks
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 large garlic clove, pressed
½ cup low-salt beef broth
½ cup stout
1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1. Spread 1 teaspoon mustard over steaks; sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper;
2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook meat about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare;
3. Transfer to plate; tent with foil. Wipe out skillet;
4. Mash butter and flour in small bowl; set aside;
5. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 15 to 20 seconds;
6. Add broth; bring to boil;
7. Whisk in stout, brown sugar, soy sauce, 3 teaspoons mustard, and butter mixture. Whisk until thick and remove from heat;
8. Thinly slice steaks, divide among plates. Drizzle sauce over and serve.

Click here for recipe card.

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