Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rigatoni Casserole

Rigatoni Casserole is an original recipe from Richard’s Kitchen today.  This recipe serves six and is about 410 calories per serving.  The next time I make it I will lighten it up some by using only two or three sausages and adding finely chopped baby bella mushrooms.  My bride stated this may be her new favorite recipe.  It also got the Natalie nod of approval, which is great because of all the spinach!


5 – Italian turkey sausages, remove casings,
1lb Rigatoni pasta, cooked and rinsed according to package
1 medium bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 regular jar of pasta sauce – I used Prego’s new lite sauce
2 cups baby spinach, divided
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup Fat Free Ricotta cheese
½ cup reduced fat shredded cheese
Oh and a splash of red wine…I always “rinse” the pasta jar out with a splash of wine… A little wine in the cooking and a little wine in the cook make it work for everyone.

What to do-

Remove the casings off of the sausage and brown.  The sausage needs to be reduced to small bits.  I browned it and then through it in the Ninja to chop it fine.
Spray a round casserole dish with cooking spray.  Add a couple tablespoons of sauce into the bottom and swirl dish to coat bottom.  Line the bottom of the dish with baby spinach leaves and take the remainder of the spinach processing it to fine bits. 

Add the sausage, onion, pepper, and spinach to a large skillet and sauté over medium heat until the veggies have softened.  Add the sauce and wine (use the wine in the jar, reseal and shake to get all the good sauce).

While this simmers, add the pasta to the bowl.  Stand the pasta up on the end and fill the bowl. 
Pour the sauce mixture into the casserole dish a little at a time.  Use a spoon to “press” as much sauce into the pasta tubes as possible.  Continue until all the sauce is in the dish.  Cover with cheese and cook in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread.



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Asparagus Soup

I love asparagus, also known as "the stinky pee" vegetable in our home. (The chemical reactions in digestion cause our urine to produce a heavy ammonia odor- and I mean FAST! Now back to my soup.) 
I have read a couple of different recipes lately for asparagus soup, and I decided to ‘blend’ a few together to make my own.  When I explained what I was making to my bride, well, her enthusiasm wasn’t exactly shining through.  After I served her bowl, she wanted to make sure there was enough for her lunch the next day!  As a dinner soup, it doesn’t have enough sustenance, although it would be a great soup to pair with a small sandwich.

2 lbs. Asparagus
1 lg. sweet onion, chopped
3 tbsp. Brummel & Brown (margarine/yogurt)
3 cups 99% FF chicken broth
1 cup almond milk
6 oz. Plain fat free yogurt
Fresh lemon juice from one lemon
Ground black pepper and salt to taste

What to do-

Remove the tough bottoms from asparagus stalks.
Rinse the asparagus tips (reserve some for garnish).  Place asparagus in a large pot with onion, margarine, chicken broth and milk.
Cook over medium heat until asparagus is very tender (about 20 minutes).  Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Purée the soup in batches using a blender or food processor until smooth. (Use care with hot liquids)

Pour into a bowl, and whisk in yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Garnish with asparagus tips.


Approximate Calories: 100 per cup.  (Estimate is high, but not off by much)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentine's Day Delights

Well this week is Valentine’s week at my schools.  I will have to have some special treats for my sweet students.  I picked up the materials in Wake Forest, NC while visiting the newlyweds Paige and Patrick.  Today we prepared them to go with my on my endeavors throughout my five classrooms.  Fortunately, the recipe was already HERE, I just had to change the M&M’s.  I also added some White Chocolate Raspberry Kisses.  These treats were so good that I had to HIDE them from my bride.  She goes nuts for white chocolate and then add a touch of raspberry…. Killer!

Oh, and these are NOT healthy food, but one per each of my students is just right.
Have a great week, and I'll show you my Valentine's present from my bride later!

Oh we made it a Family Fun Day in the kitchen this afternoon.  Mom and Natalie made cupcakes on Natalie's new Baby Cakes oven.  It's actually a pretty neat contraption.  They have some cool recipes for mini- quiche too!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pizza Makeover

Tonight I experimented with one of my biggest weaknesses in the food battle – pizza.  It’s extremely difficult for me to turn down a slice or two or three of good pizza.  It’s impossible for me to just eat ONE slice and that is a bad thing considering pizza is not exactly low cal and good for you. 
Tonight’s pizza worked out VERY well in satisfying that pizzeria goodness.  This little experiment was filling and tasty!  A side salad makes it a complete meal.
1 Flat Out Fold-it Flat bread
3 Tbsp. spaghetti sauce
¼ cup of shredded part-skim mozzarella
8 slices of turkey pepperoni, halved
Chopped onions
Sliced mushrooms
What to do-
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees.
Place the flatbread on a wire rack.  Layer with the remaining ingredients: spread sauce on the surface of the flatbread.  Add onions, mushrooms then cheese and finish topping with pepperoni.
Bake for about ten minutes or until desired level of doneness is achieved.

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat
13.6 g
Saturated Fat
6.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat
0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat
1.3 g
50.4 mg
913.1 mg
94.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate
20.7 g
Dietary Fiber
8.4 g
2.4 g
20.9 g

Friday, February 1, 2013

Porcupine Balls

The other day as I was in our district office when my friend Stacy was talking about how she used to make porcupine balls.  It got me thinking that I could probably make this in a lighter version to make a hearty winter meal.  The end result was a Natalie approved success without killing my 'school-girl figure'. 
1 to 1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef or turkey

2/3 cup long grain rice, uncooked

½ tsp. dried basil                         
½ cup water

2 Tbsp. minced onion (or 1/3 cup of finely chopped onion)
Salt and Pepper to taste

¼ tsp garlic powder
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom or celery soup

1 cup water
Add minced onion to ½ cup water and allow to stand for ten minutes.  Spray a 2qt casserole dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine meat, salt and pepper, garlic powder, rice, and onion with the water.  Mix well and shape porcupine balls into 1 ½ inch balls.  Place balls into the casserole dish.

Put soup into a sauce pan with the cup of water.  Heat to blend soup and pour over meatballs.

Cover dish and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove cover and bake 20 more.  Serve with a vegetable or side salad.


Nutrition Facts
5 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 297.8
Total Fat 6.3 g
Saturated Fat 2.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 62.0 mg
Sodium 491.8 mg
Potassium 360.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Sugars 3.0 g
Protein 25.4 g