Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tortellini Spinach bake with Creamy Lemon Sauce

I heart pasta dishes! So filling, so easy, and so versatile! I found this recipe on Our Best Bites, which is one of my favorite food blogs to follow! It looked divine and so I vowed to make it! I changed mine up just a little and we all just loved it! I served it with the Homemade Rosemary Bread that I love to make! (you can find the recipe for the bread, by clicking on the label bread over in the tool bar on the side of this blog). 

Tortellini Spinach Bake with Creamy Lemon Sauce
recipe adapted slightly from Our Best Bites

12 oz bag frozen cheese tortellini
1/2 lb bacon
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 T flour
2 C. milk
1 tsp salt\
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium lemon
2 c loosely packed spinach, roughly chopped
1 c. grated mozzarella cheese, divided
1 c. grated parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil, add torellini and cook according to package directions. Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and reserve 2 T of the bacon drippings in the pan. Cook garlic in the bacon drippings over medium high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add flour to pan and whisk for about 1 minute.  Slowly add milk and whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, garlic salt, red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.
While sauce is heating, zest and juice lemon. Add 2 tsp zest and 2 T lemon juice to sauce, and stir until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Drain tortellini and place back in pot. Add spinach, 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, bacon, and 1/2 c parmesan cheese. Add sauce and gently stir to incorporate. place pasta in a 9/13 casserole dish and cover with the remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. *I also added a 2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken to make this a full meal*
Cover for foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Memorial Day! (Hamburgers, potato salad)

So, I realized that I haven't ever posted a hamburger recipe and I had to remedy that! We love, love, love the summertime and grilling! Its the quickest, easiest way to do dinner in the summer and for some reason it never gets old! My husband could eat a good burger every night if I would let him! So I thought I would share our classic favorite hamburger recipe (if you can call it a recipe...) and also my favorite potato salad recipe. My grandma is the best potato salad maker in the world! We could always count on a bowl of yummy potato salad to grace the table at any BBQ!  I tried to recreate her recipe as best as I could, and I also added in a few tastes of my own! Notice in the picture that i took it while the food was on paper plates...I did that on purpose! It's summer, low maintenence, and paper plate kind of food! Just keeping it real!
The Classic Hamburger - Lamb Style

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion
2-3 T butter, melted
1 T Olive Oil
salt, pepper, garlic salt, and Montreal Steak seasoning to taste
Worcestershire sauce
a couple slices of bacon, cooked
1 tomato, sliced
shredded lettuce
Colby Jack cheese, sliced
Your favorite BBQ sauce
Hamburger buns

Cut onion in half. Use one half for the caramelized onions: cut it into thin slices and set aside. (See below for the recipe on how to make caramelized onions). Dice the other half of the onion. Mix the minced onion into the ground beef with a fork. (don't over mix!), season the ground beef with salt, pepper, garlic salt, Montreal seasoning, and a couple shakes of worcestershire sauce. Form into patties and grill until desired amount of doneness. We like to add a slice of cheese to the burger when it is about done so it melts right on top of the burger. Brush some melted butter on the inside of each hamburger bun and throw on the grill until a little golden brown color appears....They cook fast, so don't burn! Assemble your burger to your liking with whatever toppings you love! Here is mine: Bun, hamburger with melted cheese, caramelized onions, a couple slices of bacon, tomato, lettuce, BBQ sauce, bun. Now you can make your burger however you would like, that's one of the beaties of burgers, HOWEVER, I would strongly reccomend not leaving out the caramelized onions, they get SO sweet and wonderful and just make the burger. Just a suggestion.

How to make Caramelized Onions:

Melt butter and olive oil in a medium sized saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Then sprinkle a little sugar over the top - like maybe a teaspoon or so. (this gives the onions a slightly sweet taste which is divine!) Saute slowly over medium heat. (you want to cook them slowly, so keep the heat at medium!). Cook, stirring frequently until onions are soft and golden brown. It takes a good 10-15 minutes to get the color you need. Then when the are about done, sprinkle a couple shakes of worcestershire sauce into the pan and stir around. I can eat them straight out of the pan just like this! (I'm weird, i know!)

My Favorite Homemade Potato Salad

About 3 lbs red potatoes
1/2 lb bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled 
1 1/2 c. mayo
2 T. milk
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
3-4 green onions sliced
3 celery stalks sliced
4 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced
salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste
1-2 dill pickles diced

Bring a large stock pot of water to boil and add potatoes. Cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Cut the rest of the veggies and prepare the dressing by adding mayo, mustard, milk and apple cider vinegar to a bowl and wisking together. Salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. Take cooled potatoes, and cut into 1 inch cubes, leaving skin on. Add to a bowl with celery, green onions, bacon, pickles, and sliced boiled eggs. Pour dressing over the top and stir gently to just combine. Place in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
*you can also add bleu cheese crumbles OR grated colby jack cheese for extra flavor!*
Serve all this deliciouness with your hamburger, sliced watermelon, and corn on the cob for the perfect BBQ!

Whats your favorite BBQ food??? Yay for summer!


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