Mac & Cheese Impossible Pie

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This sounded incredible when I picked up the recipe card.  My husband and son love mac & cheese.  This felt like it was going to be a slam dunk.  And it was alright, but I think there are some adaptations I’d make next time around– more cheese of a different kind, less potato, and maybe some other veggies with a bit more flavor… like zucchini or broccoli.  But here I give it to you unaltered from how I originally prepared it and encourage you to make it per the instructors or try your own fixes.  Let me know how it goes!

Serves 6
Adapted from WimpyVegetarian.com

Ingredients:
1 Tb butter
2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 c uncooked large elbow macaroni
2 1/4 c milk
4 eggs
1/2 c baking mix (Bisquick)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
1 c potato, shredded

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees and coat a 10 inch pie dish with butter. Place on baking sheet.
2. Mix together the cheese and macaroni in the pie dish. Thoroughly mix the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and pour over the macaroni and cheese. Push down any macaroni to make sure it is entirely covered with liquid.
3. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top is puffy and the macaroni are completely cooked. A knife inserted into the pie should come out clean.
4. Allow the pie to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition:
Weight Watchers Points = 10

Precooked.

Precooked.

Italian Zucchini Pie

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Want dinner tonight and dinner for later? This is a great recipe for that! It’s already enough for 2 zucchini pies, which taste a million times better than they sound. My two year old is still talking about Zucchini Pie. And we have another one in the freezer ready to go whenever we need it. Here we go.

Yields 2 pies; Each pie serves at least 4 (Weight Watchers Points based on 4 servings per pie)
Adapted from Simply in Season

Crust Ingredients:
1/4 c warm water
1 Tb active dry yeast
1/4 c milk
1 Tb olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
2 c bread flour

1. Mix warm water and dry yeast until it dissolves. Set aside.
2. Combine milk, oil, and egg in a mixing bowl. Add dissolved yeast and stir.
3. Blend in wheat flour, cheese, salt, and basil.
4. Add 1/2 c bread flour at a time to make a smooth but slightly sticky dough.
5. Place dough in a well greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and place in a warm place while preparing zucchini filling.

Filling Ingredients:
1/4 c butter
8 cups zucchini, thinly sliced
1.5 c onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tb fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Tb fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp each dried thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
5 large eggs, beaten
4 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 tsp specialty mustard
1/4 c Parmesan cheese

1. Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add zucchini and onions and saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a very large bowl.
2. Stir into large bowl the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.
3. Combine eggs and mozzarella in a separate bowl, then stir into zucchini mixture.

Back to the crust and putting it all together…
1. Divide dough in half. Place each half on a lightly floured surface and roll into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.
2. Set each into a lightly greased 10 inch pie dish and crimp edges as you would a pie crust.
3. Spread the bottoms and sides of pie crusts with mustard.
4. Divide the zucchini mixture between the two crusts. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top.
5. Bake in preheated oven at 375 until center is set, about 18-20 minutes. (To test if set, jiggle pie after time. If it is mostly solid, you should be good.) Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I recommend eating one and freezing the other, unless you’ve got lots of mouths to feed. If you let it cool completely and have greased the pan well enough, it should be sturdy enough that you can pop it out of the pie pan and slip it into a gallon freezer bag. It’ll hold its shape and be good for you whenever you need a quick meal to just reheat.

Nutrition:
Weight Watchers Points: 10

The piece our 2 year old ate.

The piece our 2 year old ate.

The crust is amazing!

The crust is amazing!

Arugula Pesto

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I didn’t love this dish. It felt a bit grainy and lacking in richness. But I think you could play with this and maybe make it more delicious. Maybe use really quality olive oil. And don’t forget the salt and pepper (like my husband did when he made it for us). This was a good way to get rid of the arugula we had on hand from our CSA, though, so don’t count it out.

At some point, I have to find the recipe for my mustard green pesto from last year. Now that was a tasty pesto!

(Adapted from Stillman’s CSA newsletter, Week 7 July 27-August 1)

Serves: 4

2 c (packed) arugula leaves (about 3 ounces)
2 c (packed) basil leaves (about 3 ounces)
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c olive oil
1 lb pasta

1. Cook pasta according to directions.

2. Blend arugula, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese in processor until almost smooth. With machine running, gradually add olive oil; process until well blended.

3. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Toss over your preferred pasta. I like pasta with wrinkles to catch the sauce, like bowties.

Note: Can be made ahead. Cover and let stand up to 2 hours at room temperature or refrigerate up to 1 day. Bring to room temp before using.

Note: We didn’t have 4 cups of arugula, but if we did, we might have followed the original recipe instead of subbing in basil.

Nutrition:
Weight Watchers Points: 8

Baked Risotto with Greens

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Another recipe specifically made to help rid us of our kale. I think this is my favorite of the kale recipes. And I’ve continued eating it for lunch at work for days afterward, so the recipe makes a lot and it continues to be delicious even a few days later.

Adapted from Stillman’s CSA Week 5 (July 13-19)
Serves 6

1 Tb olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1 1/4 c vegetable and chicken stock (combined)
1/2 c tomato sauce (jarred)
3/4 c grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
1 bunch kale (stems removed, washed and coarsely chopped, about 4 cups)
salt and pepper to taste

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.) In a French over, combine oil and onion over medium heat. Cook until onion is soft, about 3-4 minutes.
3.) Add rice, stir to coat with oil and cook for 1 minute.
4.) Add the vegetable and chicken stock, tomato sauce, and greens and simmer for 9-13 minutes until kale has wilted down.
5.) Turn off heat. Add half the cheese and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.
6.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
7.) Cover and bake for 30-35 minutes, until rice is cooked through and has absorbed most of liquid. Should be moist but not soupy.

Nutrition:
Weight Watchers Points: 8 points

A bit messy for the cleanup...

A bit messy for the cleanup…

Kale Fritatta

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Yet another thing we had too much of– kale. Kale is another vegetable that I’m really not a big fan of. But I’m willing to try it all sorts of ways to see if it has more value than being made into kale chips. Luckily our CSA newsletter has had a few recipe ideas for us, and this is one we made recently. It is intended for swiss chard rather than kale, but I made it work.

Adapted from Stillman’s CSA newsletter, Week 6 (July 20-26)
Serves 6
Active Time: About 40 minutes

1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tb olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp fresh oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
ground pepper to taste
1 zucchini, chopped
1 bunch of kale, leaves chopped
1 pepper, chopped
5 eggs and a splash of milk
1 c shredded cheddar

1.) In a French oven, saute onion and garlic in oil with seasonings for 5-8 minutes.
2.) Add zucchini and kale. Cover to help cook the kale down and wait to add more ingredients until the kale cooks down by at least a quarter.
3.) Add pepper.
4.) Beat eggs with milk, add cheese. Pour over veggies.
5.) Place French oven in a 400 degree oven and cook 15-18 minutes or until set.

Nutrition:
Weight Watchers Points: 6

Between steps 3 and 4.

Between steps 3 and 4.

Right before sticking in the oven.

Right before sticking in the oven.

Tomato Bread Casserole

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Another excellent find when perusing random cookbooks: Tomato Bread Casserole. Sounds weird, right? Yeah. And when you’re making it and eating it, it still seems weird. But delicious. And I knew this would be a hit with our 2 year old, because he loves all of the following things, which this recipe has an abundance of: tomatoes, bread, and cheese. I think it could have used a bit more cheese, personally, but still recommend trying this weirdo recipe out.

Adapted from Grandma’s Casseroles, Home-Style Favorites
Serves 4 as Main

1/4 lb loaf French bread, sliced
1 1/2 Tb margarine
7 oz whole peeled tomatoes (half a can), cut up (reserve liquid)
3/4 lb fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 c low fat ricotta cheese
1/8 c olive oil
1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded

1.) Spread bread slices with margarine. Cut into large cubes. Arrange on a cookie sheet. Toast in 350 degree oven about 7 minutes.
2.) Place 1/2 of cubes in greased square baking dish.
3.) Top bread cubes with 1/2 of fresh tomato slices, 1/2 reserved tomato liquid, 1/2 of ricotta cheese, 1/2 oil, 1/2 canned tomatoes, 1/2 of Seasoned Salt, 1/2 oregano, and 1/2 garlic powder.
4.) Repeat layers.
5.) Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
6.) Bake, covered in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.
7.) Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer to brown top and get wilted edges on fresh tomatoes.

Nutrition:
Weight Watchers Points: 7

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Green Bean & Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad

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Another vegetable that we’re drowning in, courtesy of Stillman’s Farm CSA, is green beans. As a result, I was on a hunt to find recipes that would allow me to plow through most, if not all, of the green beans we have on hand. I came across this pasta salad in a random cookbook I’m not sure I’ve ever otherwise opened. It sounded to me like the perfect summer salad. I made a large batch of it and we brought it along to Shakespeare on the Common (King Lear) last Sunday. It was perfect paired with the tasty sangria I made– both totally refreshing and great for enjoying outdoors. Recipe on the sangria to come later.

Sadly because I wasn’t in my normal cooking/eating element, I failed to take any photos of the dish. But take my word for it– it is as colorful as you think when you read through the ingredients.

Adapted from One United Harvest cookbook, as Snap Bean and Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad (by Evan & jodi Verbanic)
Serves 8 as a Main (can also be used as a side dish)
Active Time: 20 minutes

3/4 lb bow tie pasta
3/4 lb green beans
2/3 c olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 c grape tomatoes (half cut in half, half kept whole)
3 Tb chopped basil leaves
2 Tb chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1.) Cook pasta according to package directions. When done, rinse with cold water and drain.
2.) Steam beans until just tender, then dunk in cold water with ice.
3.) In a large bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, and salt and pepper to make the dressing.
4.) Add the tomatoes, herbs, pasta, and beans to the dressing and toss to coat.
5.) Shortly before serving (1 hour or less), add in the shredded mozzarella and toss again to combine.

Nutrition:
Weight Watchers Points: 10