Tuesday, March 20, 2012

BLT Pasta

The one thing I always seem to have from the garden is Flat Leaf Parsley. You just can't kill the stuff. It grows all winter, and right now (early March) it is about the only thing harvestable from my garden. I always have parsley and have several other recipes that use a tablespoon here or there, but this recipe uses ½ a cup of Flat Leaf Parsley! It is a delicious recipe, I hope you will try it. It would be awesome in the Summer with garden fresh tomatoes.
BLT Pasta the original recipe was found here http://www.letsdishrecipes.com/2011/01/blt-pasta.html.
I made a few adaptations and next time will make a few more, I'll tell you about those in a minute.
As the recipe appeared above:
16 oz. dry pasta
12 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook in a large skillet until crispy. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of drippings in skillet. Cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente; drain. Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes to bacon drippings in skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions are soft. Stir in chicken broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add cubed cream cheese and stir until cream cheese is melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add pasta, grape tomatoes, bacon and parsley and cook until heated through, about 2 more minutes. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Let's Dish
This was a big hit at my house! Okay, some of my picky eaters removed the tomatoes, but they don't know what they were missing. I love that this dish uses fresh tomatoes in addition to the canned, and the cream cheese adds just a touch of creaminess to the sauce. There isn't any lettuce in this BLT pasta, but let's be honest, that would just be weird. The parsley adds a nice touch of green though. This recipe makes enough to feed a crowd, so if you're feeding less than that, you might want to consider making half. Although, the leftovers are pretty good!

Now, What I did:
Because I have a fairly big crew or big eaters at my house, and because I have a son who could and would live on bacon alone; I cooked more bacon. Due to the amount of bacon and the fact that I like my bacon crisp, I didn't cut it in pieces or cook it in a skillet. I laid it in strips on a cookie sheet and cooked it in a 400 degree oven. When the bacon was crisp I removed it to a plate covered with paper towels to drain and when cool, I crumbled it. The bacon grease on the cookie sheet I then used in my skillet to saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper. I used about twice that much garlic. We like garlic and I always have a ton of it from my garden. Then I used a quart of chicken broth (I like my pasta saucy) and 8 ounces of cream cheese. I also used a large can of diced tomatoes. I didn't add the bacon to the pasta, we served it on top. Like I said, I like my bacon crisp. It was delicious!
What I would do different next time:
I will probably use more garlic and more red pepper. “Tomato haters” live in my house, so I will take the diced tomatoes and blend them. Then I will take the grape tomatoes and saute them briefly in some olive oil and serve on the side along with the bacon. It is best not to add the pasta until just prior to serving to preserve the al dente texture. For leftovers, at our house, there are never any bacon leftovers, so serve leftover pasta with purchased bacon bits instead. Yummy! Hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Enchiladas and Mexican Potatoes

This is super easy!  You will be amazed at how easy it is.
12 corn tortillas
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 jar of enchilada sauce
1 can of sliced black olives
1 onion
Cheddar cheese, grated

Brown the ground beef with the onion, chopped.  Salt and pepper the beef to taste.  Drain the olives, set aside.  Heat the enchilada sauce until warm.  Dip tortillas in sauce.  Place a couple of spoonfuls of ground beef in the tortilla.  Add a few sliced olives and some cheddar cheese.  Roll so that the seam is on the bottom.  Place in a 9 x 11 baking dish, spayed with Pam.   Repeat until all tortillas or meat is gone.  Pour remaining sauce over the top of the rolled tortillas.  Top with cheese and olives.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Mexican Potatoes
2 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
Cheddar Cheese, grated
Canned Jalepenos, sliced
1 Onion, chopped
Peel and cube potatoes, into 1/2 inch cubes.  You can use russet potatoes, but Yukon Gold hold their shape better when cooked.  Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet, about 1/4-1/2".  When olive oil is hot, add potatoes and onions.  Allow potatoes to brown on one side, then turn gently.  Try not to turn them very often, the fewer the better.  When the potatoes are browned well on most sides, add the Jalepenos and cheese.  Allow cheese to melt.
You can serve the meal with refried beans and tortilla chips and a nice tossed salad.
Hope you enjoy!