Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bit of Flavor Curry Noodle Soup

Bit of Flavor Curry Noodle Soup
Ingedient List is at the end

Doesn't this look delicious??  It was, and it was very easy to make!

Start out with a few fresh veggies. 
I used one white onion, one zucchini, one yellow squash, and
a bit of a butternut squash I had left from an earlier recipe.
You could also use a sweet potato, or whatever you enjoy and have on hand.

Chop your onion well.
Dice or chop your other veggies to your preferred size.

Heat some Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat.

As the onion begins to cook, add your other veggies.
I chopped up my zucchini first, so it went in first.
Continue adding your veggies.

Heat all until somewhat softened.

Reduce heat to medium. 
Add your broth.
I used some of my homemade turkey broth, which is my Day-after Thanksgiving tradition.
I also did not get my frozen turkey broth out a day early, so it was still slightly frozen. 
No worries, though - I just plopped it into the pot and let it thaw over the heat.

Next, add your curry powder and other favorite seasonings.
I added my usual - Sea salt, black pepper, garlic, and Butt Rub -
along with two types of curry powder.

Add one can of Coconut Milk and one can of Diced Tomotoes.
Stir well, and continue heating over medium.

Optional: Add some chopped pre-cooked chicken.

While the soup is heating and blending, cook some noodles.
A nice choice is to use rice noodles. 
I was out of these, so I used spaghetti noodles,
which I broke in half before adding to the pot of boiling water.

I'd also recommend prepping some toppings.
I offered green onion, cilantro, and sour cream.

When everything is ready, offer bowls and let everyone fix their own!
Scoop some noodles into the bowl, and spoon the soup over top.
Add toppings as desired, and enjoy!!

Feel free to slurp if you want to!
(This is my nephew and niece, visiting from Tallahassee the night I made the soup)

Ingredient List:
1 white onion
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1/2 butternut squash
32 oz broth (veggie or chicken)
1 can Coconut Milk
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1 cup chopped cooked chicken (optional)
Seasonings - curry powder, sea salt, black pepper,
garlic, etc.
Toppings - green onion, cilantro, sour cream...

Remember ~ Life tastes better with a bit of flavor!

Bit of Flavor Baked Mahi

Bit of Flavor Easy Baked Mahi

Ingredient List is at the end...

I picked up some lovely fresh mahi the other day, and decided to try my own simple recipe for preparing it.


I grabbed my usual assortment of favored spices:
black pepper, garlic with seasonings, italian mix,
and the family favorite - Butt Rub.


Next, I mixed up some grapefruit juice and some Wish Bone Bruschetta Italian dressing, and added the above noted spices.
Note: I did not measure any of this - I used about equal amounts of the juice and the dressing, and just shook in some of each spice.


I placed the fish into a sealable container, poured the marinade over it,
sealed it up, and popped it in the fridge for a bit.


As I already had the grapefruit juice out, I poured some over ice
and added a little vodka and a little cranberry juice. 

After marinating for 30-45 minutes, I pulled the fish out from the fridge.
I placed it in my glass baking dish, and poured the marinade over it.
Next, I topped it with some panko, and sprinkled on more seasonings.

Into the oven it went - 350 degrees, for maybe 25-30 minutes.


While the fish was baking, I boiled some elbow noodles and made my own Mac 'N Cheese.
(See my Bit of Mac and Cheese recipe)


This is the roux for the Mac and Cheese, in process...

Here is the almost final product.  I wish I had some right now!

I also made a simple tossed salad. 
For a nice touch, serve with the same salad dressing you used in the marinade!

Here is the fish, finishing up in the oven. 
Sadly, I was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish!

Ingredient List
1/2 lb fresh mahi or swordfish per person
1 cup grapefruit juice (approx.)
1 cup salad dressing (approx.)
Assorted seasonings
1 cup Panko or breadcrumbs (approx.)

 Remember ~ Life tastes better with a bit of flavor!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bit of Flavor Baked Ziti with Sausage


Bit of Flavor Baked Ziti
Ingredient List is at the end...

Mmmmmm...  I just LOVE Baked Ziti!
I normally make a meatless version, but I happened to have some Sweet Italian Sausage that I wanted to use up, so I went with this hearty version.
Step One - Prepare the pasta.
I boiled an entire 1 pound box of ziti pasta.  You can also use penne pasta, if that's what you have on hand.  The main idea is that you want a short and sturdy noodle that will be perfect for collecting and holding the cheesy sauce.
Follow directions on box, and finish to al dente.

Step Two - Prepare the sauce.
This step involves several smaller steps...
While your pasta is boiling, chop up some onion.  I used about 1/2 of a large white onion, and chopped it fairly fine.

Brown 1/2 - 1 pound of Sweet/Mild Italian Sausage.

A quick little side trip to share my latest favorite kitchen item:
Check your pasta - I bet it's ready!
Drain it, and set is aside.

And now I bet your sausage is ready!

Add the chopped onion, and quickly brown it.

Season it up!
I added salt and pepper, some freshly ground garlic & herb mix, and some Italian seasonings.  Stir well.

Pour on the sauce!
Use a jar or can of your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce, or go with your own homemade sauce if you prefer.
In general, I use Hunts sauces.  My family likes them and they are low-cost.
I went with the Traditional version tonight; we also like the Four Cheese and the Garlic & Onion flavors.
Before you continue, take a couple of scoops of sauce and spread on the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish.

Here is one of my favorite parts - It's time to add the cheese!!
Plop in one container of ricotta cheese, one cup of shredded mozzarella, and one cup of grated parmesan.

Stir well to combine.
Mmmm...  That sure looks good!

Step Three - Put it all Together!
Pour your drained pasted over the sauce in your prepared dish.
Add your meaty cheesy sauce.
Stir gently through, to combine.
Pat down just a bit to form an even top layer.

Put the dish into a 350 degree oven.
Bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, check to be sure that your Baked Ziti has a nice slightly browned top.
Grab your biggest scoop and enjoy!

Serve with a tossed salad and some garlic bread.
(Yes, we splurged and had Texas Toast with ours!)
1 lb box of Ziti or Penne Pasta
1 White Onion
1/2-1 lb Italian Sweet or Mild Sausage
Salt & Pepper, Garlic Powder, Italian Seasonings
1 jar or can of Spaghetti Sauce
1 16oz container Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
Remember ~ Life tastes better with a bit of flavor!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bit of Flavor Pasta and Cheese

Bit of Flavor Pasta and Cheese

Ingredient List is at the end...
I don't know about you, but I love cheese!!
And Macaroni and Cheese - REAL Macaroni and Cheese - well, it just doesn't get much better than this!
I have a quick and simple version that makes an excellent comfort-food meal, or it can be used as a side-dish at your next family dinner.
Be sure to make extra - you'll want some again tomorrow!
Step One - Prepare a pound of pasta.
Feel free to use any shape you like.  I usually go for the small shells - I love the way they act like little scoops for the creamy cheesy sauce!
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, going for an al dente finish.

Step Two - While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese.
I make my pasta and cheese using whatever cheese I have on hand - american, cheddar, muenster, swiss, provolone, mozzarella...  It's all good!
Stick with one flavor, or blend a few.
You can also use any format, such as pre-shredded, chunk, or sliced.
This particular night, I went with cheddar, provolone, and swiss.
For ease of use when cooking, you want small pieces of cheese.
I like cutting things, and thought you'd enjoy seeing what I did.  :)

See?  Lots of little pieces of delicious cheese!
Check your pasta - It should be just about ready!
Drain it, and set it aside.  You'll need it soon!

Step Three - Prepare the creamy sauce.
First, you melt some butter over medium heat.
Start with 3 tbsp, adding a little more if you feel the need.
To keep clean-up light, I just use the same pot I used to cook the pasta.
Once the butter has melted, slowly add your flour, stirring constantly.
You should need anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour.

This looks just right!

Next, add your milk, stirring constantly.

Add all of the cheese, still stirring constantly.
Continue heating and stirring just until cheese melts.

Add your choice of seasonings.
I used some of our favorite (Butt Rub), a little garlic powder, and a couple of dashes of salt and pepper.
Give it all a good stir.

Step Four - Add the pasta to the creamy cheesy sauce, and combine well.
Pour it all into a casserole dish, and pop into a 350 degree oven.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
While your pasta and cheese is baking, toss a steak (that of course you've been marinating all day) on the grill.
You can also put together a nice tossed salad or other side dish.
After 30-35 minutes, remove the pasta from oven, and add breadcrumbs or panko or other topping as desired. 
Mine is only on half, so there is some pasta and cheese for those who like a topping, and some for those who don't.
Turn the oven up to 425, and pop the dish back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
Everything should be ready, so tuck in your napkin, grab your best fork, and enjoy!
Bit o' Pasta and Cheese
16 oz box of pasta
12-16 oz cheese
3-4 tbsp butter
1/4 - 1/2 cup flour
1 cup lowfat milk
Chef's Choice of Seasoning
Breadcrumbs, Panko, or other topping
Remember ~ Life is better with a bit of flavor!