Monday, January 23, 2012

Ricotta Stuffed Shells

This one, I completely improvised... and it turned out to be delicious!
You'll need:
Pasta shells
1 carton Ricotta cheese
1-2 egg(s)
1 bag of Italian shredded cheese
ground turkey
other of your favorite Italian spices
tomato sauce (in a jar)

Start by boiling the pasta shells, then I let them cool in the sink (make sure you don't skip this step because you'll burn your fingers when you try and stuff them otherwise)
Preheat your oven to 350.
Next, brown your turkey and add some oregano, S&P, Italian seasoning, or whatever else you like in your Italy dishes
Mix your Ricotta and Italian cheeses (I used about 1/2 c of the shredded stuff), and the egg(s) with more Italian seasoning.
Add the ground turkey
Stuff the shells and arrange in a pan or casserole dish
Cover with sauce and sprinkle more cheese on top.
Bake at 350 for around 30 minutes, and you're done!

Apricot Baked Chicken

Since I am trying to make up for my prolonged holiday hiatus, here is one of a few recipes I can share with you all this week!
I found this recipe in the most recent issue of Cooking Light, and they name it as "Double Plum Baked Chicken". However, my grocery had not yet received plums for the season, so my recipe turned into Apricot Baked Chicken.
You'll need:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 sliced shallots
2 tsp peeled ginger minced
1/2 c white wine (or red, whatever you have in your house)
3/4 c fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp chile paste
1 tsp ground mustard
3 or 4 of your favorite sweet fruit (you could sub peaches, plums, apricots, whatever's fresh)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper

I started by preheating my oven to 425.
Next, I used my saucepan, and heated some olive oil, then added the shallots and ginger and sauteed them until they were fragrant.
I added some white wine (the recipe calls for plum wine, but I didn't waste my time or money trying to find it in the store), and brought all of that to a boil.
I cooked that and let it simmer, then added the broth, chili paste, and mustard, and boiled it.
Cook it until it reduces to about 3/4 of a cup (or more if you like sauce), then stir in your fruit (face down so they absorb the flavor).

I headed my cast-iron skillet and added some olive oil.
While that was working, I sprinkled the chicken with some S&P on both sides.
Next, saute the chicken for a few minutes per side (until it browns).

Next, pour the fruit mixture over the chicken, and bake it for around 6-8 minutes, or until your chicken is cooked.

This made a really easy weeknight meal, and tasted delicious with some mashed sweet potatoes!