Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mac & Cheese w/ Cauliflower

This recipe was on the cover of one of my favorite magazines and it made my mouth water! The original recipe called for a crushed & seasoned breadcrumb topping, but I got a little impatient and eliminated those steps. I just served it topped with grated Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper. It was still really tasty. To read the original recipe in its entirety, click here.

(makes 6 VERY generous servings)


12 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked (I used whole wheat)
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used extra virgin.)
salt & pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups (or 6 ounces) shredded sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream (I used reduced-fat.)
1/2 cup milk (I used skim.)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the cauliflower during the last 3 minutes of cooking time. Drain.

3. Return the pasta pot to medium heat and add the oil.

4. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft. About 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Mix in the pasta, cauliflower, sour cream, cheese, milk & mustard.

6. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish (at least 3 quarts) and bake until the top is brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.

NOTE: I used my enameled dutch oven from start to finish on this recipe. It worked well for cooking the pasta and onions. It eliminated the need to use a baking dish since it could also go right into the oven. Less dishes = happy cook.

Source (with modifications): Real Simple, February 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those foods that ranks high on the list for both my husband and I. He likes it because it's beefy. I like it because it because it's pasta. Combine that with the fact that I have a passion for my slow cooker and this recipe became instantly appealing.

Traditional lasagna is easy enough to make and is usually a crowd pleaser. However, the assembly can take quite a bit of time and you're glued to the house while the dish is in the oven. This variation in the crock pot is super easy and took 10-15 minutes from start to powering on the slow cooker. You don't even have to pre-cook the noodles! I was a bit concerned that they'd be mushy after the 4 to 6 hour cooking time. They weren't al dente, but they certainly weren't overcooked.

As you can tell by the picture, it's difficult to scoop out in nice "slice" form. The taste more than makes up for the appearance. Huge thumbs up from both my husband and I! We both took leftovers to work for lunch the next day...and the next day. It's equally as good (if not better) reheated.

By the way, we skipped the final step in the recipe which is why there's no cheese shown on top. We were STARVING when we got home for the gym and couldn't wait the extra 10 minutes. In fact, I think my fork was making its approach as I snapped the picture.

Makes 6 servings.


1 pound(s) uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
1 small onion(s), chopped
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
15 oz canned tomato sauce
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup(s) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
6 item(s) dry lasagna noodles, uncooked
1/2 cup(s) shredded Parmesan cheese, strong-flavored like Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes; simmer 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

3. While that simmers, stir together ricotta cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese in a medium-sized bowl. .

4. Spray the inside of a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

5. Spoon 1/3 of beef mixture into a 5-quart slow cooker. Break 3 lasagna sheets in half and arrange over beef mixture; top with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat with another layer and finish with remaining 1/3 of beef mixture.

6. Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours. Remove cover; turn off heat and season to taste, if desired.

7. Combine remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl; sprinkle over beef mixture. Cover and set aside until cheese melts and lasagna firms up, about 10 minutes.

Source: Weight Watchers

French Onion Pork Chop Skillet

This meal was so quick and easy! My husband declared it "a keeper." He took some of the leftovers for lunch the following day and said it was just as tasty after being heated up in the microwave. Definite comfort food for a cold winter evening. I also think it would be good for the summer because there's no oven required. You really can't see the pork chops. They really are under the onions. I promise.

The original recipe came from Kraft Food and Family, a FREE quarterly magazine published by Kraft. All of the recipes use one or more of their products and are usually pretty easy to make. There are also tons of great Kraft coupons in every issue. If you don't already receive this I'd highly recommend signing up. You can have it delivered to your mailbox or e-mail inbox. You can also opt to view the archived issues via the website.

(Makes 6 servings.)


1 and 1/2 lbs. boneless pork chops, 1/2 inch thick (I used 3 thicker chops. See the note on cooking time.)
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 package (6 ounces) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken (I used reduced sodium.)
1 and 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup shredded cheese


1. Spray a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high heat.

2. Add the pork chops and onions. Cook until a meat thermometer in the pork reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, about 5 minutes per side. NOTE: With my thicker pork chops the cooking time was about 10 minutes per side to reach the desired temperature.

3. Remove pork chops from skillet.

4. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and stir.

5. Return pork chops to the skillet and pile the onion mixture on top of the chops.

6. Mix together the stuffing and water. Spoon the mixture around edge of skillet.

7. Top with cheese and cover skillet. Cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. NOTE: The original recipe called for Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella. I used 2% Mild Cheddar because that's what I had. I say use whatever you have/like/want and it will still be good.