Posts tagged ‘pasta’

Sicilian Lasagna with vegetarian version

Steve Callahan’s recipe for an authentic Sicilian Lasagna originates from a family member who hails from Sicily. This recipe is  a product of passion for good food and adherance to authenticity.  MTS is very excited about sharing this recipe with its readers. MTS has also provided tips of making a vegetarian version of this recipe.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
5 pound beef roast
6 pounds tomatoes peeled and seeded or (use canned crushed)
1 pound mozzarella cheese
2 pounds ricotta cheese
1 pound parmesan cheese
24 OZ fresh spinach
1 bottle of red wine
1 large onion
6 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Italian flat leaf parsley
Salt Pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons basil
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 bay leaves

How to make:
Coat 5 pound beef roast with olive oil salt pepper and 2 cloves garlic then cook in oven at 350 for 2 hours, let cool then cut up the roast very small and add 3 pounds tomatoes peeled and seeded to pot  and simmer slowly.

In large pot brown ground meat in olive oil, put in 3 pounds of the tomatoes, the onion and garlic chopped, the spices, and simmer  after 1 hour add the red wine let simmer ½ hour. In a lasagna pan layer the sauce and flat pasta noodles. I like homemade but store bought is OK. Then more sauce, then layer the mozzarella cheese and the ricotta and a sprinkle of parmesan then add a layer of spinach, keep this up until it’s gone.  Bake at 350 for 1.5 hours. Remove and let stand.

To serve place lasagna on plate then drizzle roast sauce over it and shaved parmesan cheese over that with a sprinkle of the Italian parsley.

So when on the plate you have a serving of lasagna with the roast beef sauce and shaved parmesan with parsley. This goes great with a nice toasted sourdough bread and butter.

MTS vegeterian version: Roast veggies like egg plant, zucchini, carrots, bell peppers and onions until tender.  Use this in the place of the beef roast.  Use meatless meat balls or soy granules or meatless ground meat in the place of the ground meat.

Recipe Credits: Steve Callahan

July 15, 2009 at 9:25 am Leave a comment

Quick fun pasta salad

Quick MealParty FoodParallel ProcessingLunch Box MealFamily Meal

Including lots of vegetables in your diet is always a great idea. But, sometimes, a little more than just vegetables can help boost the taste and appeal of the food. A little pasta in vegetables can add just the taste and texture to make the salad a lot more appealing. Try this colorful, healthy pasta recipe.  Its a great family meal or a a quick lunch at home or to take to school and work.

Pasta salad

Kind of food: Main course
How long: 20 min
Makes: 3-4 cups (2 servings)
Pots & pans: one pan and a pot.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup uncooked whole wheat pasta (any kind you like)
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion – diced
1 small zucchini
1 small red bell pepper
1/4 cup low fat feta cheese crumbled (or less)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or less)

Zucchini, bell pepper, low fat feta and parmesan cheese
How to make:
Set one quart of water in a pot. Cover to bring it to a boil quickly ( about 5 min). While the water is heating up, set a pan on medium-high heat. Place a tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and saute for a min, then add in the onions, give it another minute. Add the peppers and zucchini. Give it all a good stir and cover for 5-6 min. The Water should be boiling now. Add the dried paste to it and leave it uncovered. Cook for about 10min (or follow package directions). Check on the vegetables after 5-6 min. Give it a stir, cover and leave it the very low heat.  The pasta should be done cooking. Drain and place the paste in a pasta bowl. Add the vegetables, sprinkle the cheeses. Give it all a good toss – your pasta salad is ready!

Keep it Smart, Short and Sazzy! – Anu

Serving ideas:
The pasta salad tastes great as is. If you want more, you can always serve it with some warm tomato soup or even add some grilled chicken or tofu to make it  a bigger meal

Tips, tricks and alternatives:
Cooking pasta recipes are very easy and does not take much time. THe key to this is using parallel processing. Do all your prep work for the vegetables and sides, while the pasta water is heating up or when the pasta is cooking. Pasta does not need much attention while boiling.

**  Remember – feta cheese and parmesean are both salty. So the salad should not need any extra salt. You always ofcourse add some heat to it with red chili flakes or some freshly ground black pepper.

March 9, 2009 at 12:30 am Leave a comment

Whole wheat penne & grilled tofu pasta

Quick MealLunch Box MealFamily Meal

Whole wheat pastas can add a lot of texture, taste and nutrition to the food. This whole wheat penne pasta recipe is quite light and makes for a perfect lunch pasta. It is almost like a pasta salad and stores well for a lunch box.

Whole wheat penne and tofu pasta

Kind of food: Main course
How long: 20 min
Makes: 8 cups (serves 2 adults)
Pot and Pans: Grill/griddle, Pot, pan.

Ingredients
2 cups dry pasta – Whole wheat penne pasta
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 cups tofu – cubed
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 cup spinach – chopped or baby spinach
1/2 cup onions – chopped (red onions or shallots recommended)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes ( drained from the oil)
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

Grilled tofu

How to make:
Set  a pot of water, cover and heat it to a boil (as per the instructions on the pasta box). While the water is heating up, set a grill/griddle on high heat. Once the grill is hot, place the tofu cubes and drizzle a little oil and soy sauce. Sear the tofu till its browned on one side, flip them and sear the other side.  Tofu grills very quickly, a minute or two on each side should be sufficient.  Place the dry pasta in the boiling water and cook as per instructions ( about 12 min – set the timer). On a pan or pot heat 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the onions, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and give it a good toss and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper and saute for another 2 min.  Set the pan on very low heat. Drain the pasta and add the pasta to the pan. Turn up the heat and give the mixture a good mix.  Pour the pasta onto a paste bowl or plate. Top with the grilled tofu and grated parmesan cheese.  Serve warm.

Whoe wheat penne pasta
Keep it Smart, Short and Sazzy! – Anu

Tips, tricks and alternatives
You can use a pan to grill the tofu. Its it just quicker to use a cast iron griddle.
You grill a big batch of tofu and store it in the freezer. Simply defrost and warm on a pan before adding to the pasta. When you have some tofu and not sure what to do with it, grill it with soy sauce and store it.

December 30, 2008 at 11:32 pm Leave a comment

Sail boats in orange sea

Quick MealToddler FoodParty FoodParallel ProcessingKid FriendlyFamily Meal

It is more fun to serve sail boats in orange sea as opposed to serving colored ravioli in carrot bisque.  This recipe is basically  a heavy creamy soup with lots of protein (from cheese and cream) and vitamins (from carrot). This soup is ideal not just for the kids, but for the entire family for lunch or dinner with a side of bread or as an accompaniment to a meal.

Sailboats Ravioli

Kind of Food: Main course /side dish
How long: 30-35 min
Makes: 3 Quart or 12 cups
Pots & Pans: Pan, oven safe deep dish, aluminum foil, blender

Ingredients
2 cups of any kind of ravioli (stuffed pasta available in the freezer or deli or fresh foods section)
4 cups of baby carrot
2 tsp olive oil
3 Tbsp Italian seasoning (available in the condiment aisle)
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp salt
1 4 Oz can tomato paste
6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup of grated cheese (parmesan)
3 Tbs of fresh finely chopped basil or parsley

How to make
Parallel processing is the key to this recipe.  Pre-heat the oven to 500 (the highest setting).  While the oven in getting warm, boil water for the ravioli. Toss the baby carrot with olive oil (1 tsp), chopped garlic, salt and Italian seasoning.  Place the carrots in a greased oven safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Cook the carrots in the oven for 10 minutes until soft. Leave the carrots outside the oven to cool completely  Cook the ravioli in the boiling water until it floats to the surface as per directions given in the package and drain thoroughly.  Apply 1 tsp of butter or oil to prevent it from clumping together.  When the ravioli is cooking, heat a skillet with one tsp of olive oil and add the can of tomato paste.  Season it with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 pepper.  Partially cover (to prevent splattering) and cook the tomato paste for 3 -4 minutes.  In the mean time, puree the carrots with 1/2 cup of stock to a smooth paste.  Add more stock to pureeing if needed.  Add the pureed carrot and the remaining stock to the tomato paste and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.  Adjust for pepper and add cream cheese and cream.  Heat thoroughly mixing the soup for 2 -3 minutes without letting it boil vigorously.  Remove it from the heat and add the cooked ravioli.  Garnish with parmesan and fine chopped basil.

Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

Catering to adult palate
Add red pepper flakes and chopped fennel to the carrots while roasting it.
Use low fat cream cheese and substitute milk instead of cream for a healthier version of bisque.

Tips, Tricks & Alternatives
Cream cheese, parmesan and stock can impart salt to the soup, so check for salt at the very end and serve salt on the side for those who may need more.  Carrot bisque is meant to be midly sweet.
Canned pureed pumpkin can also be used instead of roasted carrot.  In this case add the garlic and Italian seasoning to the tomato paste while cooking it.
Make sure you are parallel processing to get this done in no time.
You could roast carrots up to 3-4 days in advance and refrigerate if you are roasting veggies for another recipe.
The carrot bisque before the addition of ravioli can be used to make carro macco by thickening it with  cream cheese.

Serving ideas
Can be served with fresh bread or with a light salad for a complete meal.
Can be served in coffee mugs in a party as an interesting hors d’oeruvres (appetizers)

November 21, 2008 at 6:46 pm Leave a comment

Carro-macco

Toddler FoodParty FoodParallel ProcessingLunch Box MealKid Friendly

This a twist on a classic kid favorite.  The twist is incorporating pureed roasted carrots in the pasta sauce.  Several kids have the habit of weeding out veggies from food and this recipe helps overcome that habit by making the veggie disappear in the sauce.  This technique can be easily extrapolated to other veggies too.

Carrot Mac & Cheese

Kind of Food: Main course
How long: 30-35 min
Makes: 4 cups
Pots & Pans: Oven safe deep dish, aluminum foil, blender & microwave safe bowl (optional)

Ingredients
1 6 Oz pack of Macaroni
2 cups of baby carrot
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (available in the condiment aisle)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup of grated cheese (parmesan or asiago or American)

How to make
Pre-heat the oven to 500 (the highest setting).  While the oven in getting warm, boil water for the macaroni. Toss the baby carrot with olive oil, salt and Italian seasoning.  Place the carrots in a greased oven safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Cook the carrots in the oven for 10 minutes until soft. Cook the macaroni as per the instructions given in the box and drain completely.  Puree the carrots with cream cheese and milk.  Toss the carrot mixture with the pasta in a microwave safe bowl and warm it for 1 minute until the sauce is thick enough to coat the pasta.  Alternatively,  this can be done on the stove by warming it on medium heat for 1 minute without boiling it.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

Catering to adult palate
Add red pepper flakes and chopped garlic to the carrots while roasting it.  Garnish with fresh parsley or basil. Use low fat cream for a healthier version of this recipe.

Tips, Tricks & Alternatives
Canned pureed pumpkin can also be used instead of carrot and you call it something fun like “pumk it up” :). Cook the canned pumkin puree in a skillet with oil and Italian seasoning for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Make sure you are parallel processing to get this done in no time.
You could roast carrots up to 3-4 days in advance and refrigerate if you are roasting veggies for another recipe.
Left over carrot bisque from sail boats in orange sea can be used to make this recipe.

.Serving ideas
Can be served with fresh bread and dipping oil or with a light salad for a complete meal.

November 21, 2008 at 5:04 am Leave a comment

Baked Pasta With Soy Chunks

Party FoodParallel ProcessingLunch Box MealKid FriendlyFamily Meal

A great tasting and wholesome pasta for kids and adults alike. The pasta incorporates Soy Chunks – an easy way to add some texture, interest, taste and nutrition.

Soy Chunks

Kind of Food: Main course
How long: 30-35 min
Makes: 6 cups
Pots & Pans: Casserole or over safe deep dish, Pan

Ingredients
2 cups uncooked dry pasta (any kind)
2 cup of Pasta sauce (Caponata, Arrabiata( for spicy), marinara etc.)
1 cup of Nutrela Soy chunks (soaked for 10 mins in hot /salted water, drained and squeezed)
1/2 cup onion chopped (use red onions if you like the onions a bit sweet)
1/2 cup of roasted red peppers in oil from a jar (drained and patted off the excess oil) chopped to bite size
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup corn (frozen)
Red chili flakes (optional) – to taste – remember you may also have chosen a spic pasta sauce like Arrabiata.
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup grated Gouda cheese
1/4 cup of sharp cheddar
1/4 cup of mild cheddar
1/4 cup of low fat ricotta
NOTE: You can use any combination of cheeses. Mix them up, you need about 1 cup shredded cheese for this recipe.

How to make

Set the oven to bake at 375F. Start cooking the pasta. While the pasta is getting cooked, set a pan on medium-high heat and add in the Olive oil. Add chopped onions and the soy chunks and saute till the soy chunks are browned. In a bowl, mix the grated dry cheeses together (reserve 1/4 cup cheese separately). Gently toss in the pasta, the browned soy chunks with onions, the pasta sauce, corn, broccoli, red peppers, ricotta cheese, red chili flakes (optional). Pour the mixture into a greased casserole, top with the reserved cheese. Bake covered (with foil) at 375F oven for about 20-25 mins, till heated through and the cheese on top melts and bubbles a little. You can open the leave it in the warm oven for a few more minutes if you like a crusty top. Serve hot with some fresh bread.

Keep it Smart, Short and Sazzy! – Anu

Tips, Tricks & Alternatives
Make sure you heat the oven, set the water to boil and then start with the rest. Parallel processing is the key to making these dishes fast.
A great way to use your left over cheeses and pasta sauce.
The ricotta is just for some binding, you could any other soft cheese as well
Avoid salty cheeses like feta or goat cheese, as everything in this recipe has salt in it.

Serving Ideas
The pasta tastes great without any side dishes. Like any other pasta, fresh bread/dipping oil and light salad will complete the meal.

November 21, 2008 at 12:08 am Leave a comment

Rasta Pasta

Quick MealToddler FoodParty FoodParallel ProcessingLunch Box MealKid FriendlyFamily Meal
Rasta Pasta is a popular Jamaican pasta dish.  This version of rasta pasta is a one pot, wholesome meal that can be easily tweaked to the kid’s table for parties.  With pineapples, alfredo sauce and a hint of tanginess; this recipe is a crowd pleaser.  The kid version provided meagerly omits the addition of the spicy jerk sauce, so there is no big detour in creating a kid platter.  All the ingredients for this recipe either comes from a can or a jar or box; thereby eliminating prep-time.

Kind of Food: Main course
How long: 20 min
Makes: Three quarts / 12 cups
Pots & Pans: Stockpot & skillet

Ingredients
1 13 Oz packet of your favorite pasta
5 Quarts of water
1 Tbsp of salt
3 cups of Marinara sauce (pasta sauce)
2 cups of Alfredo sauce (available in bottles right next to marinara sauce)
1/4 cup of Jamaican jerk sauce or Barbecue sauce (available in the sauce/condiment aisle)
1/2 cup of sliced onions
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp Jamaican jerk spice (available in the condiment section)
1 cup of match stick carrot
1 cup of bell peppers cut into strips
1 cup of dry vegetarian protein granules (substitute: cooked minced chicken/turkey/meat)
1 cup of canned pineapple chunks drained of all juice
1/2 cup of finely chopped scallions (optional)
1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
1 cup of shredded cheese (preferably Parmesan or Asiago)

How to make
Cook pasta as per the instruction given in the box (with 5 Quarts of water and 1 Tbsp of salt) and drain completely. In the mean time using a skillet saute onions and garlic with Jamaican jerk spice for 3- 4 minutes on medium high heat.  Add the bell peppers, carrot and vegetarian protein granules and continue to cook for 5 minutes.  Add  the marinara sauce, alfredo sauce and jerk sauce (or barbecue sauce).  Toss the pasta into the sauce mixture and add the pineapple.  Garnish with cheese, scallions and parsley.

Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

Non-spicy version: Set aside some of the cooked veggies mixture and toss it with mixture of alfredo and marinara sauce (avoid jerk sauce) for a non-spicy version for the kids.

Catering to the adult palate
You could make it spicier by adding more of the jerk sauce or spice.  Alfredo sauce can be replaced with more of marinara for a healthier version of this recipe.  Left over grilled chicken,fish or shrimp can be tossed in or placed on top of the pasta.

Serving ideas
To make ahead for a party, keep the pasta cooked, drained mixed with a Tbsp butter covered with foil in an oven-proof dish and the sauce in another oven proof dish (covered with foil) placed in a oven set at 200 F until serving time.  At the time of serving mix the pasta, sauce, pineapple, parsley, scallions and cheese.

Tips, Tricks and Alternatives
Left over grilled chicken can be tossed in or place on top of the pasta.
Tropical fruits like mango will make great garnishes for the kid version mentioned above.
Use fun pasta shapes to win kid’s appeal easily.
To serve toddlers, set aside the required quantity of the kid version of rasta pasta for the toddler and cut the veggies and pineapple in the set aside portion to pea size pieces. Thus, you do not have to fine chop the veggies and pineapple for the entire batch.

October 20, 2008 at 9:04 pm 1 comment


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