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Monday, January 6, 2014

Recipe Review from 12/30/13

Not a lot of new recipes to start the New Year - somehow we were a bit inundated with leftovers (Spicy Ham Soup, Slow Cooked Gumbo, and Chili), add in Christmas and New Years landing in the middle of the week...yeah, meal planning got a bit odd. 

With temperatures continuing to remain well below zero with windchills about the same, it's been hearty, warming meals for this house. 

Hope you're staying warm too!  

Quick Pastitsio (Ckng Lght, Oct 2011)  gluten free and vegetarian optional
This is simply a quick creamy pasta with beef or Italian sausage.  The beef/sausage could easily be eliminated and cubed roasted butternut squash or broccoli substituted.   Quick is relative; recipe stated it would take about 40 minute from start to finish and it took about 45 minutes from start to finish.  I did let it rest for about 5 minutes after removing from the broiler.  10 minutes would have been better.

Very few changes to note in this one, I made it pretty much as written except I used a mild Italian sausage (venison to be exact) and one 8oz brick of light cream cheese rather than the two varieties called for.  I just used the whole package of cream cheese - what am I going to do with 1 oz leftover?  I also added a dash of ground red pepper for a bit more 'adult' taste and zing.

This turned out creamy, nicely seasoned, and a hearty compliment for our chilly weather.  Perfect. 
photo from
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion 
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained 
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 (3-ounce) package fat-free cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove beef from pan; drain. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add beef; sprinkle with salt. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in milk, tomatoes, and cream cheeses, stirring until smooth; bring to a simmer. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in pasta.
  4. Spoon pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over top. Broil 4 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with parsley.

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