Monthly Archives: March 2012

Creamy Shells with Tuna and Spinach

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One of the things I really enjoy is coming up with ways to update old comfort food recipes. I can remember my Mom making tuna casserole when I was a kid. It was on of the meals we had quite often. It, of course, contained a can of cream of mushroom soup, but I can just remember loving it when she made it. Since my Mom wasn’t big on cooking, tuna casserole is one of the meals that I remember fondly and it brings back wonderful memories of my Mom for me.

Of course through the years, with my desire to make recipes a bit healthier when I can, I have realized that even though it is very tasty (I love cream of mushroom soup) it isn’t the healthiest item to add to a meal. The amount of fat and sodium it contains are really quite staggering. So when I can try a recipe without it I am excited. I know my Mom would be proud of me for making things healthier for my family. A bonus is this is a nice inexpensive recipe!

Everyone, minus Ms Picky Pants, loved this dish. Seth had a friend over and he loved it just as much as we did. They both work at a local pub/saloon and Avin is one of the cooks there. He and Seth both kept making comments about how they would make so many people happy (and so much money) if they used my recipes there. What a wonderful compliment that was and completely not expected for Tuna Casserole! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!!

Creamy Shells with Tuna and Spinach
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups milk
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3 slices white bread
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid (a clean kitchen towel works great for this)
2 cans tuna, drained and flaked
6 ounces jumbo pasta shells (approx 20 shells), cooked according to package directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium pot, over medium high heat, cook the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Whisk in the white wine and cook for a minute. Then gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for about 3 minutes, until the sauce has slightly thicken and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper and let the sauce cool slightly.

In a food processor, combine the bread and Italian seasoning. Process until fine crumbs form. Transfer half of the mixture to a large bowl and combine with half of the sauce, tuna, and spinach. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Fill each shell with a heaping tablespoon of of the spinach mixture and place in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining sauce and bread crumb mixture. Bake until sauce is bubbling and bread crumbs are golden. About 25 minutes.

Bobbi on a Budget – Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Potatoes

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SO much has been going on around my house that it seems cooking and blogging has taken a backseat, something I really hate. So you know that making a good meal (and a BUDGET meal) last night made me happy. My kitchen smelled wonderful and actually sitting down to a tasty meal was a breath of fresh air!

This recipe is easy peasy! No stress, whip it together, and enjoy. It is a recipe for 4 but if you, like me, are cooking for two most of the time now it is a great recipe to give you leftovers. The chicken is so juicy and makes wonderful sandwiches or you could throw it in a nice soup with the leftover roasted veggies.

When you break it down this recipe costs about $2.25 per serving so that is something else you can love about it!

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Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Potatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut in thirds lengthwise and the across
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
1 lemon, quartered
1 whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds), patted dry
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Poultry seasoning
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place chicken on a rimmed backing sheet. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper, sprinkle poultry season over the outside. Roast chicken in the oven for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large bowl toss the broccoli and potatoes with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
Remove the chicken from the oven and scatter the potatoes, broccoli, and lemon around the  baking sheet. Sprinkle them with garlic powder and onion powder (amount depends on how strong you want the flavor, I used about a teaspoon of both). Return to the oven and roasted an additional 35 minutes turning the the vegetables after 20 minutes.. Chicken is done when the juices run clear when chicken is pierced between the breast and thigh (an instant thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh). Let chicken rest 10 minutes before carving.

Bobbi on a Budget – Chili Braised Pork with Asparagus and Mashed Potatoes

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WOW I am finally back! I haven’t been sick like I was in forever!! I realized I haven’t posted anything in a week. You KNOW a food blogger is sick when they don’t even want to cook! My poor family had to deal with leftovers and take out for over a week, I felt so bad.

Now that I am back I wanted to get more into my budget meals. I have been on the look out for recipes and ideas to provide for you since it was requested so much. I mean everyone loves to eat good food but not spend a fortune for it, right? It can be kind of hard to keep recipes down to $10 for a 4 person meal, but I am learning to buy things on sale and then work with them rather than chose recipes or ideas and then buying whatever I need at that time.

I had been looking through my Everyday Food magazine and found some recipes that sounded really good. When I went to the store it was wonderful to find so many of the ingredients on sale. I used asparagus in this meal because it was on sale for $1.99 a pound (Woohooooo) but you could easily use green beans or broccoli instead if your store doesn’t have asparagus on sale and you want to keep the cost down to $10.

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Chili Braised Pork with Asparagus and Mashed Potatoes
1 1/2 pounds of boneless country style pork ribs
Kosher salt
Ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, separated
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated 
3 tablespoons all purpose-flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cubed to 1 inch
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound asparagus
Pat pork dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large straight sided skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on both sides. Remove from skillet to a plate and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium and add 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Once the butter has melted add the 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk making sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet to get the brown bits up. Cook for a couple minutes to get the raw flour taste out and then whisk in the chicken stock and chili powder. Return the pork to the skillet and bring to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook until the pork is tender and the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes. Season to taste.
Meanwhile in large pot bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot, mash until fluffy, stir in the remaining butter, sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm.
In a large skillet bring about 1 inch of water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the asparagus and reserve in the colander. In the same skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until golden brown. Return the asparagus to the skillet, toss with the garlic and olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.