Friday, May 2, 2008

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

I still love Italian, and this is wonderful. I will make this often. Brent, who usually complains about pasta, happily ate the left-overs the next day.

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
Black pepper
14 (8-ounce package) manicotti
1 (15-ounce) container skim-milk ricotta
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups tomato sauce

Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool. Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Meanwhile, cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes.

2 servings.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network

Chicken Roll-Ups

I was planning to make chicken quesadillas, but the tortillas I bought were two thin. These turned out great, and sauce really gave them an extra zing.

4 flour tortillas (I used low carb)
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/3 lb pepper jack cheese, diced into small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/8 cup barbecue sauce

Season chicken with chili powder, salt, and cumin. Heat olive oil in pan over medium high heat. Cook chicken in pan until done. Add onions and cook until done. Dice chicken into 1 inch pieces.
In blender, puree sour cream, lime juice, barbecue sauce, and dash salt and pepper. On each flour tortilla, place 1/4 diced chicken and onions and 1/4 diced pepper jack cheese pieces. Cook in microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese melts. Add 1/4 diced tomatoes and top with 1/4 of sour cream mixture. Roll up tortillas and slice in half. Repeat with remaining 3 tortillas.

Servings: 4

Ricotta Orange Pound Cake

This is wonderful! I made this for my co-workers, and it turned out to be a big hit. I forgot to take a picture, so I managed to snag a picture of the last two slices.
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature, plus more to grease the baking pan
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange, zested
3 tablespoons orange juice
Fresh fruit
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with butter. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, ricotta, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice until combined. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with fresh fruit.
Source: Bethany, master baker, from (original source Giada De Laurentiis)

Spicy Orange Chicken over Fried Rice

This is another healthy meal that tastes delicious. I will definitely put this into the regular meal rotation.

Spicy Orange Chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon chili
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon ginger
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch strips
1 onion, cut into 1 inch pieces

Mix chicken, 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, and orange rind in medium bowl. Toss to coat chicken. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken. Cook 3 minutes until done. Add ginger and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat. Add onions and bell pepper to pan. Stir fry about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, broth, orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, chili sauce, and garlic powder in small bowl. Mix well. Add broth mixture to pan with onions and bell pepper. Cook until broth starts to boil and thicken, about 1 minute. Add chicken and cook until heated through.

Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional information (per serving): 227 calories, 8 g fat, 16 g carbohydrates, 22 g protein

Fried Rice:
4 cups cooked brown rice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 egg whites
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
option: onions, carrots

In large saute pan, saute veggies. Remove from pan. Heat oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add eggs and scramble. Then add rice and veggies and stir fry. Add soy sauce and fry. Season with salt and pepper.

Source: Weight watchers and

Skinny Girl Margarita

This is wonderful and only about 100 calories per serving, all from the liquor. I got this off Real Housewives of New York City's Bethenney Frankel.

Ingredients (per serving):
1 shot clear tequila
1/2 to 1 shot triple sec
2 shots lime juice
Dash grated lime rind
Sugar free lemonade

Fill glass with ice. Add tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and rind. Fill the glass to the top with lemonade. Pour into blender and mix well. Serve with sliced limes.