"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave?" - Kathleen Kelly (You've Got Mail)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bow-ties with Butternut Parmesan Sauce

2 1/2 lb. butternut squash
1 lb. bow tie pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. diced shallots
1 pint heavy cream
3/4 c. freshly shredded parmesan cheese
Dash of nutmeg
1 tbsp. chopped parsley 
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. lemon juice
Water as needed to thin the sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 and pour 1/4 cup of water into a baking dish and set aside. Slice butternut squash in half length wise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut side down in the prepared baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until squash is soft. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes and then scoop all the squash flesh into a bowl, discard the skins and mash squash well with a fork, pastry blender or potato masher.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat the oik in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the shallots until tender. Add the squash puree and stir well to combine with shallots. Stir in the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time to avoid clumping. Next, add the parmesan and stir until melted.
Remove from heat and add nutmeg, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon juice and water if needed. Once pasta is cooked, serve sauce poured over the top. Garnish with additional shredded parmesan and parsley. Serves 6.

Recipes adapted from here

Notes: I never buy heavy cream or fresh parmesan so this dish was such a treat! It was like a little taste of heaven in my mouth :) I found it on simplyrecipes.com last fall and I've been dying to try it...and it was worth the wait!

One year ago: Pumpkin Bread

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vegetable and Tortellini Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 c. diced carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 small zucchini, diced
32 oz. vegetable broth
2 c. water
14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
9 oz. fresh cheese tortellini
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 c. fresh spinach leaves

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium/high heat, add the onion and carrots and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and zucchini and saute another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the vegetable broth, water, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, itailian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Turn heat all the way up and bring to a boil. Cover and continue to boil for 45 minutes or until all vegetables are soft (carrots will take the longest). After all the vegetables are cooked, add the tortellini to the boiling pot and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan and spinach just until the leaves are wilted. Serve hot garnished with more parmesan if desired. Serves 6.

Notes: I've made a similar soup in the past with Italian sausage but now that we're not eating meat I changed this recipe up a little by using some additional veggies in place of the meat. I like it MUCH better this way! Did you know they make whole wheat fresh tortellini now?? I was so excited when I found it in my store :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Lemon Cream Sauce

Shell Ingredients:
18-22 jumbo shells, cooked al dente
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
1 c. shredded parmesan, divided
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
6.5 oz jar artichoke hearts, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce Ingredients:
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. white flour
1 c. milk
1/4 c. lemon juice

Lay shells out to cool and dry. Grease a 13x9 baking dish and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan, spinach, artichoke hearts, egg, italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stuffed each shell with the cheese mixture and line up in rows in the prepared baking dish. Preheat oven to 350.
For the sauce, heat the butter or oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic and saute for a few minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well to combine. Add milk and whisk until it begins to bubble. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Add lemon juice and pour the sauce over the prepared shells.
Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Notes: This has got to be one of the best dishes I've made in a long time! I was SO incredibly happy with how it turned out. I've seen several of these types of recipes before and decided to make one up myself based on a few ideas I gathered. This had an amazing flavor and Randy and I couldn't get enough!

Monday, October 18, 2010

1 year blogiversary!

Happy blogiversary to me! I can't believe it's been a year ago already since I started my blog! Thank you all for sticking with me this whole time. There were times I almost gave it up but I'm so glad I didn't!

I know I don't have a whole lot of followers and that I don't get many comments or feedback but I'm glad for MY sake that I stuck it out this long! It's been a great place for me to go back and find my favorite meals I've made and to keep track of the progress I've made on our house.

So today I'm celebrating my little teeny tiny corner of the internet called My Valuable, but Small Life! Here is a look back over the past year of my favorite recipes I blogged about:

-Favorite bread: Pumpkin Bread
-Favorite chicken: Lemony Couscous with Chicken
-Favorite chocolate: Flourless Chocolate Cake
-Favorite cookie: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
-Favorite dessert: Blueberry Crumb Bars
-Favorite ice cream: Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
-Favorite pasta: Lasagna Roll-ups
-Favorite side dish: Summery Veggie Couscous and Fiesta Quinoa
-Favorite soup: Lentil Vegetable Stew
-Favorite vegetarian: Greek Orzo Stuffed Peppers 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lentil Vegetable Stew

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 large potato, diced
3 medium tomatoes, diced (or a 14 oz. can diced tomatoes) 
2 cups dry lentils
2 32 oz. cartons vegetable broth (or 8 cups water)
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste (lots!)

In a large sauce pan or stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and potatoes and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. To the pot, add the tomato, lentils, vegetable broth, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, the reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 60-90 minutes or until the lentils and all vegetables are fully cooked. You may add more salt and pepper at the end. Serves 8.

Notes: I've made a recipe similar to this only it had smoked sausage in it, but now that we're eating vegetarian it was easy to omit to meat and add lots of extra veggies. This stew is so yummy and flavorful! This won't be the last time I make it this season...

Easy Cheesy Manicotti

8 oz. package manicotti shells, uncooked
15 oz. container ricotta cheese
3 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
24 oz. jar pasta sauce

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the manicotti for 8-9 minutes, until al dente. Spread 1/4 of the jar of pasta sauce in a 13x9 baking dish and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 and in a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, the parmesan cheese, egg, italian seasoning and garlic powder. Once the noodles are cooked, lay them out to cool and dry. Once noodles have cooled, stuff with cheese mixture using a small spoon. Line the stuffed manicotti in the prepared baking dish and cover with remaining sauce. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serves 6.