Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Make This Tonight: Tuna Marinara

If you're anything like me you're forgetful, lazy, prone to procrastination... you get where I'm going with this.  So it's no surprise that I forgot to defrost something for dinner tonight.  Happens at least once (or twice, maybe three times) a week!  No problem!  I have a delicious hearty pasta meal on standby with the help of my stocked pantry.  Hopefully yours is more organized than mine:

Here are some pantry staples I have on hands for nights like these:

  • Canned beans - (tonight I'll be using Cannellini beans)
  • Crushed tomatoes and mostly ALL canned tomato products from diced, pureed, plum, crushed, etc. 
  • Jarred artichoke hearts in water - I buy these in bulk and use them for salads and pasta dishes
  • Canned or jarred tuna in water or olive oil
  • Anchovies - They add a ton of flavor
  • Frozen veggies - OK so these aren't a pantry staple but they're a freezer staple in my house
  • Pasta - duh

This is a real "grease-ball" dish as my Mom would say.  Super Italian and yummy.  I like it because it's not just a starchy high carb meal.  It combines lots of protein and veggies making it a complete meal.  I usually make this meal without the artichoke hearts but I love them and had them on hand.  It would be perfectly fine without them.  

Tuna Marinara (my take)
1 lb spiral or ridged pasta like Rigatoni Rigate or Fusilli 
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15oz can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can tuna drained - any kind you like
2-3 anchovies and a small amount of their oil
1/2 cup jarred artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp olive oil

Heat olive oil at the bottom of a small sauce pan.  Add garlic, anchovies and anchovy oil, and red pepper flakes.  Cook until fragrant.  Add tuna and cook ~ 2 minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.  In the last 5 minutes of cooking time add artichoke hearts, frozen peas, and beans to the marinara sauce.  Cook until heated through.  Add sauce to pasta and toss until coated.  

Your Favorite "Grease-Ball",

Meg Loc <3

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Angela's Baby Shower!

Ahoy! It's a boy!

We are so excited to celebrate the anticipated arrival of Angela's little boy!  Two weeks ago we threw her a very nautical baby shower.  A great time was had by all.  It just warms my heart to see Angela's belly grow so big! Her little man is due at the beginning of next year and I just can't wait to snuggle and spoil him!  Here are some pictures and recipes from the shower.  We hope you enjoy!

{Angela's amazing cake!}

{Nautical Center Pieces & Favors}

{Her invitations}

{Mom & Dad's special chairs}

{Beautiful Mommy-to-be sipping some water}

{The new parents arrive}

Mom-Mom's Grand kid Approved Chicken Fingers
1 lb chicken breast, cut into strips
4 cups Corn Flakes, crushed
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of flour
salt and pepper
dipping sauces of your choice!

Preheat oven to 350
1. Cut chicken into strips, season with S & P.
2. Smash corn flakes.
3. Set up breading station: one tray of flour, one of egg and one of corn flakes.
4. Bread the chicken strips: flour, egg, corn flakes and place onto a plate.
5. Arrange strips onto a baking rack over a baking sheet.
6. Cook for about 8-10 minutes a side, depending on the size, flipping half way through.
7. Dip, dunk and eat!

To FREEZE: Complete up to step four.  Flash freeze strips and then place into bag or container.

To EAT: Thaw.  Bake as directed OR fry for extra crispiness!

The Real Deal Mac & Cheese
2 lbs macaroni, cooked and drained
2 eggs, whisked
4 TBSP butter, sliced
24 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
(the more cheese, the better)
whole milk

Preheat oven to 400
1. Cook pasta to al dente; drain and rinse with cool water.
2. Mix pasta with eggs and butter.
3. Mix shredded cheese together in a separate bowl.
4. Assemble the mac & cheese:  a thin layer of pasta, a thick layer of cheese and repeat.
5. Add whole milk (just slightly less than covering the pasta).
6. Bake, keeping an eye on the top layer.  Once that has browned, cover with foil and bake until milk evaporates.
7. Enjoy while HOT!

Stay full!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Chili Cook Off Part 1: Chili Verde

I am so excited to share this recipe with you! It is one of my all time favorites--so different, yet so yummy.  If all chili were as delicious as this, I'd be a chili freak like my husband.

This recipe calls for pork, which I LOVE! I always get whatever is on manager's special or on sale at the market that week...this time I happened to get bone-on thin chops.  I don't even bother to take the meat off the bone--I just let it cook low and slow and the meat will just fall off! Remove the bones before serving! What I think was even better about the recipe this time was that I made it in the crock pot! I have adapted the original recipe slightly and I know it's one that I will continue to make for years! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Chili Verde
{serves 6-8}
2 lbs pork
1 cup onion, chopped
16 oz chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp celery salt
1 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 tsp oregano
1 TBSP cumin
1 TBSP jalapeno
4 TBSP chopped cilantro
1/2 TBSP chili powder
10 oz green enchilada sauce
21 oz canned green chiles (chopped or diced)
1 16 oz jar of salsa Verde
salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown pork in large pot; remove from pot.  Add onion, saute for 2 minutes.
2. Add chicken broth and simmer for 1 hour (stir so meat does not stick to bottom).
3. Add spices and cornstarch; simmer for additional hour (keep stirring).
4. Add enchilada sauce, chiles and salsa.  Simmer for 45 minutes.
5. Remove pork bones and serve hot! ENJOY!

Crock Pot Instructions:
1. Line Crock Pot with liner.
2. Brown pork in pan and add to crock pot.
3. Saute onions for 3-5 minutes and add to crock pot.
4. Add chicken broth and cover; cook on low for 3 hours.
5. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 2 more hours on low heat.
6. Remove bones and enjoy!

(original recipe: Favorite Family Recipes 2012)

1. Make chili verde according to directions above.
2. Allow to cool completely, divide into gallon freezer bags.
3. Label and freeze.

1. Thaw completely.
2. Reheat over low heat in a sauce pan on stove, stirring often.

Stay full!