Posted in Bake, Easy, Main Courses, Pasta dish, Pork, Season, Side Dishes

Noodle and Ham Cast Iron Skillet Casserole


Noodle and Ham Cast Iron Skillet Casserole

Serves 4

Preheat oven 375o

Estimated Calories/serving: 332

Fat Grams: 7 grams

Ingredients:

1 pound smoked ham, diced

1 onion, chopped

1 can condensed cheese soup

2/3 cup skim milk

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Pepper to taste

6 ounces partially cooked noodles (cook for 5 minutes) or al dente

Directions:

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat and coat with cooking spray.  Add chopped onion and cook 3 -4 minutes until onion is soft.
  2. Add diced ham and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes until ham and onions are slightly browned. Turn off heat and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix cheese soup, milk, Worcestershire sauce and pepper.  Stir in cooked noodles
  4. Gently fold noodle mixture into to ham and onions.
  5. Bake 20 minutes until browned.
Posted in Bake, Eggs, Pasta dish, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Penne Alfredo & Spinach Quiché

Preheat oven 350o

Serves 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 60 minutes

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 200                                              Fat = 2 grams

Penne Alfredo & Spinach Quiché

Ingredients:

10 ounces penne pasta

8 ounces frozen chopped spinach – defrosted

2 ½ cups skim milk

¼ cup flour

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Pinch ground nutmeg

Salt to taste

1 cup fat free ricotta cheese

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup egg substitute

Directions:

  1. Boil a large pot of water and add penne.  Cook for 5 minutes until al dente (still firm).  Drain and add to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Squeeze excess water from defrosted chopped spinach and add to pasta.
  3. In a medium size saucepan, whisk together milk, flour, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg.  Heat on medium low, stirring constantly until mixture begins to bubble.  Increase heat to medium and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and add ricotta and parmesan.  Stir until cheeses are melted.  Add salt to taste.
  4. Add cheese mixture to penne and spinach and cool for about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in egg substitute.
  6. Coat a 8” springform pan with cooking spray.  Spoon in quiche mixture and cover with foil.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen penne.  Let stand 20 minutes.  Remove from pan and serve.
Posted in Bake, Beef, Casserole, Main Courses, Pasta dish, Poultry, Sauces

Pastitsio – Greek Style Baked ziti with meat


Most families have traditional holiday meals that usually stem from their ethnic background and my family is no exception. Coming from a Greek American background, our Easter dinner usually consists of roasted lamb with orzo, Greek salad, spinach pie, pastsio and rice pudding for dessert.  Here is a recipe I’d like to share with you that lightens up a traditionally very heavy dish.

Enjoy…

Pastitsio – Greek Style Baked ziti with meat

Preheat Oven 350o

Serves 6

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook & Bake Time: 50 – 60 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 420                        Fat: 7 grams

Ingredients:

½ pound ziti pasta

1 onion – chopped

1 clove garlic – minced

½ pound ground sirloin

½ pound ground turkey breast meat

Salt and pepper

½ cup white wine

1 cup tomato sauce

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup egg substitute

Cream Sauce:

1 cup fat free half and half

2 cups skim milk

½ cup flour

¾ cup egg substitute

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add ziti, cook for 5 minutes until al dente (firm).  Drain ziti and rinse with cold water.  Spoon into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Make the meat filling:  Heat a large skillet on medium low heat, coat with cooking spray and add onion.  Cook for about 5 minutes until softened and browned.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Increase the stovetop burner heat to medium high and add ground beef and turkey and sauté for about 7 minutes until the meat is cooked and browned.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add white wine and cook until all the liquid has absorbed.  Add tomato sauce and heat for about 2 minutes.  Spoon meat filling into the bowl with ziti and cool while preparing the cream sauce.
  5. Make cream sauce: In a large pot, whisk together half and half, milk, flour, egg substitute and nutmeg.  Heat the stovetop burner on medium low, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/3 cup parmesan cheese.  Set aside.
  6. Once the meat mixture is cooled, add the ¼ cup parmesan cheese and ½ cup egg substitute.
  7. To assemble: Coat an 8 X 12 inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Spoon meat and ziti mixture on the bottom.  Spread the cream sauce on top.
  8. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Posted in Beef, Pasta dish, Poultry, Sauces, Slow Cook

Macaroni and Gravy


Years ago, when I first met my husband, he would talk endlessly about how his mother would make “macaroni and gravy” every Sunday night for dinner.  When I first heard of this, I thought it sounded disgusting and had visions of macaroni with brown gravy, like the kind you pour on roast beef.  However, when I had the pleasure of eating at his mother’s house that first Sunday did I understand what he meant; “macaroni and gravy” is pasta topped with a rich tasting tomato sauce that had simmered in some type of meat all day.

Dean, my husband, and I have modified the original recipe so that it is no longer dripping in grease yet still maintains that delicious rich and hearty flavor.  This “gravy” is so good, you don’t need to add anything and is perfect just the way it is.

From our family to your, enjoy this Italian tradition – modified so that it is “delicious and light”.

Macaroni and Gravy

Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (you could cook all day too)

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 570                         Fat = 7 grams                         Points: 6

Ingredients:

½ pound London broil

½ pound skinless/boneless chicken breast

Salt and pepper to taste

2 small onions – chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup red wine – divided

3 cloves garlic – minced

2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomato

1 tomato can (28 ounces) of water

2 tablespoons double concentrate tomato paste

1 tablespoon sugar

Parsley flakes to taste (about 2 teaspoons)

Dried basil to taste (about 2 teaspoons)

½ pound pasta

Directions:

  1. Season London broil and chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat a large pot on medium high heat, coat with cooking spray and add olive oil.  Add London broil and chicken and sauté for about 5 minutes on each side until browned.
  2. Remove meats from the pot and add onion.  Sauté for 5 minutes until soft and browned.  Add ½ cup red wine and cook until liquid is absorbed.
  3. Add garlic and the other ½ cup wine and cook until the wine is reduced by half.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, fill one can with water and add to the pot, tomato paste, sugar, parsley and basil and bring to a boil.
  5. Add back the London broil and chicken and simmer on low for 1 hour (tasting to adjust seasonings as needed).
  6. While the “gravy” is simmering for the last 10 minutes, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add pasta and cook for about 8 minutes until done.
  7. Drain pasta and place in a serving bowl.  Add “gravy” to pasta.  Serve meats on a separate serving platter.
Posted in Bake, Main Courses, Pasta dish, Sauces

Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells


Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells

Serves 6

Preheat oven 350o

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 350                      Fat = 7 grams                        Points: 6

Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells

Ingredients:

24 jumbo pasta shells

6 ounces fresh spinach – chopped

8 ounces fat free ricotta cheese

3 ounces low fat grated mozzarella cheese

2 ounces grated parmesan

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

Sauce Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic – minced

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon low calorie butter spread – melted

8 ounces fat free chicken broth

1 teaspoon fresh parsley – chopped

Directions:

  1. Boil a large pot of water and add jumbo shells.  Boil shells for 3 – 4 minutes (they should be slightly softened).  Drain hot water and add cold water.  Keep shells in cold water until ready to stuff.
  2. Combine spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and parsley in food processor and pulse until well combined.
  3. Combine all sauce ingredients and pour into a 9X13-inch baking pan.
  4. Stuff pasta shells with spinach mixture.
  5. Place pasta shells in baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes, covered.
Posted in Fish, Pasta dish, Saute`, Shrimp

Shrimp in Wine Sauce with Angel Hair Pasta


Shrimp in Wine Sauce with Angel Hair Pasta

Shrimp in Wine Sauce with Angel Hair Pasta

Serves 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 320                      Fat = 5 grams                        Points: 6

Ingredients:

8 ounces high fiber angel hair pasta

1 ½ pound shrimp – peeled and deveined with tails removed

1 clove garlic – minced

1 tablespoon reduced calorie butter spread

1 8-ounce package sliced mushrooms

½ cup white wine

1 cup marinara sauce

4 8-ounce bottles of clam juice

1 cup Cannellini Beans

6 ounces baby spinach

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Boil a large pot of water and add pasta.  Cook for about 3 – 5 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water.  Keep pasta in a little cool water until ready to add to the sauce.
  2. Heat large skillet on medium high heat, spray with cooking spray and add shrimp and garlic.  Sauté for 3 – 5 minutes until shrimp turns pink.  Remove from pan and cover to keep warm.
  3. Add butter spread and mushrooms and sauté for 5 – 7 minutes until browned.  Add white wine and reduce by half.
  4. Add sauce and clam juice and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add beans, spinach and cheese and cook for 1 minute until spinach is wilted.
  5. Add back shrimp and toss in pasta that has been drained of water.  Toss to warm shrimp and pasta and then spoon onto serving platter.
Posted in Bake, Casserole, Main Courses, Pasta dish, Pork

Baked Ham and Potato Casserole


Baked Ham and Potato Casserole

Preheat oven 375o

Serves 6

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 285                        Fat: 6 grams                          Points: 5

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped

1 large potato, cooked and cubed

1 – 12 ounce package ham steaks – cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups skim milk

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon fresh thyme – minced

1 tablespoon low calorie butter spread

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 package frozen chopped spinach – defrosted

½ cup shredded low fat sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add ham and onions and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until browned.  Add cooked potatoes and saute for another minute.  Spoon into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour and milk and pour into the same skillet used to brown the ham.  Add thyme to the milk mixture.
  3. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat and stir in butter spread and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Add spinach with the ham and potato mixture and stir.
  5. Spread cheddar cheese on top.
  6. Bake 30 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered until cheese is completely melted.
Posted in Pasta dish, Sauces

Penne with Vodka Sauce


Penne with Vodka Sauce

Penne with Vodka Sauce

Serves 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 ½ hours

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 275                        Fat: 2 grams                          Points: 5

Ingredients:

½ small onion – minced

1 clove garlic – minced

½ cup white wine

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons fresh basil – finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1 Bay leaf

Salt and pepper

¾ cup vodka

½ cup fat free half and half

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 pound high fiber penne pasta

Directions:

  1. Heat a large saucepot on medium heat, spray with cooking spray and add onions.  Sauté for 3 – 5 minutes until softened and browned.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer for about 60 minutes.
  4. Remove bay leaf and cool sauce.  Pour sauce into a food processor and puree.
  5. Pour sauce back into saucepot, add vodka and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. While sauce is simmering, cook penne in a large pot of water, about 8 minutes, then drain. 
  7. Stir half and half and cheese into vodka sauce until the cheese is melted and blended.  Add drained penne to the sauce and toss to coat then serve.
Posted in Bake, Beef, Casserole, Pasta dish, Sauces, Tips/Hints

Make Ahead Day 4


  • Cook the entire recipe in advance and refrigerate overnight.  When ready to heat, cut into individual serving sizes and microwave.
  • Assemble the casserole and refrigerate overnight.  Either remove the casserole from the refrigerator a few hours early to come to room temperature before baking or bake for about 45 minutes right from the refrigerator (extra baking time may be necessary if you place the cold casserole in the oven).

Baked Macaroni with Meat

Baked Macaroni with Meat

Serves 8

Preheat oven 350o

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 320                        Fat:4 grams                           Points: 6

Ingredients:

½ onion – chopped

½ pound (8-ounces) ground turkey meat

½ pound (8-ounces) 93% lean ground beef

¼ cup water

½ cup wine

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ pound (8-ounces) penne pasta (*)

½ cup egg substitute

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Cream Sauce:

2 cups fat free half and half

2 cups skim milk

½ cup flour

¾ cup egg substitute

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, spray with cooking spray and add onion.  Sauté for about 5 minutes until soft and browned.
  2. Increase heat to medium high and add turkey and beef and sauté until cooked and browned.
  3. Add water, wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, nutmeg and basil and simmer until half of the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat, spoon into a bowl and cool.
  5. Boil water in a large pot and add penne.  Cook until al dente (about 5 minutes).
  6. Drain, rinse and add to bowl with meat mixture.  Stir in egg substitute and parmesan cheese.
  7. In a saucepot, whisk together half and half, milk egg substitute and nutmeg.
  8. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick.  Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
  9. Pour half of the sauce into the meat and pasta mixture.

10. Spray a 13-inch X 9-inch casserole with cooking spray and spoon in meat mixture.

11. Pour the remaining cream sauce on top and bake for 30 minutes until browned.

(*) Use high fiber pasta

Posted in Bake, Casserole, Main Courses, Pasta dish, Sauces, Tips/Hints, Vegetables

Make Ahead – Day 2


Tips for Cooking Ahead:

  1. You can cook the vegetables and pasta, and sauce and combine in the casserole dish to bake later that day or the next day.  If you refrigerate the casserole overnight, take it out for several hours before baking it so that it can come to room temperature.  This will reduce the baking time to 30 minutes.
  2. You can bake the dish just before broiling the parmesan that morning and leave out.  Heat for 10 minutes, covered, then broil for the last 5 minutes right before serving.
  3. You can bake the casserole the night before and refrigerate it overnight.  The next day, take it out several hours before baking it so that it can come to room temperature then bake for 15 minutes, covered, add the parmesan cheese and broil for 5 minutes.
  4. You can cook the entire recipe that morning or the night before then divide into individual serving sizes and microwave.

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 6

Preheat oven 450o

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 320                        Fat: 4 grams                          Points: 5

Ingredients:

1 eggplant – cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt

1 zucchini – cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper – cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large onion – cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil cooking spray

12 ounces penne pasta (*)

¼ cup flour

3 cups skim milk

¼ cup egg substitute

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ cup + ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese – separated

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place towels on the countertop and sprinkle generously with salt.  Add eggplant pieces on top, sprinkle more salt on top then cover again with paper towels.  Let eggplants sit out on countertop to “sweat” for about 20 minutes.
  2. Rinse eggplant well with water and add to a large mixing bowl with zucchini, peppers and onions.  Spray with cooking spray and toss.
  3. Spray a large baking pan with olive oil.  Spread vegetable mixture in a single layer on baking pan and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned and soft.  Reduce oven heat to 400o.
  4. While vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of water to boil and add penne pasta.  Cook until al dente for about 5 – 6 minutes.  The pasta should still be firm and slightly cooked.
  5. Drain penne and add to a large mixing bowl.  When vegetables are cooked, add to the penne and toss.  Set aside.
  6. In a large saucepot, whisk together flour, milk, egg substitute nutmeg, ½ cup parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.  Heat stovetop to medium low and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture has come to a boil and is thickened.  Remove from heat.
  7. Spray a large casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray and add the vegetable pasta mixture.  Pour half of the milk mixture in and toss.  Pour the remaining milk mixture on top, cover and bake at 400o for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove cover from the casserole, sprinkle on ¼ cup of parmesan cheese and broil on high for about 5 minutes until the top is bubbly and browned.
  9. Remove from oven and serve hot.

(*): Use high fiber penne