Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

Italian Sausage and Three Cheese Raviolletti


This is a quick pasta dish great for a weeknight meal. Full of flavor and fresh ingredients the whole family will love it! I know my Hubby did! 😉 I originally saw this recipe in Food Network Magazine, but I did change it up significantly starting with the type of sausage and pasta. It is a pretty basic recipe, so you can definitely use any pasta you like or spicy sausage or a different type of meat. For this recipe I used Buitoni Three Cheese Raviolletti which you can find in the dairy section of the grocery store.

Back in the day  in high school (we won’t mention how far back)I had learned in cooking class to always get all your ingredients prepared and measured out and ready to go before you begin the actual cooking or baking part. Fast forward to adulthood and when I first started out cooking I seemed to have forgotten this important “preparation” step. My cooking was unorganized, timed poorly and just an all around mess. As a matter of fact my own Mother commented that I was “a messy cook.” Initially this didn’t really matter to me so much as long as the end result tasted good! However, as I’ve gotten better and better I realized taking 10-15 minutes to prepare everything and have it readily available makes everything run so much smoother and easier….no more running around the kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off. As you can see in the picture, I took the time to chop the garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes, as well as cooking the pasta while I cut everything up. Once it was time to cook, I just grabbed everything as I went along. The total time for me to make this and put it on the table was about 40 minutes with minimal clean up afterwards. I guess those old cliche’s are true…practice does make perfect!

Italian Sausage & Three Cheese Ravioletti (Makes 4 servings)

9 oz. Buitoni Three Cheese Ravioletti

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

8 oz. Italian Sausage (casings removed)

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

6 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1/2 tsp. salt

Black Pepper, to taste

1-2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon until it begins to brown.
  3. Add the scallions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, mushrooms, salt & pepper, stirring occassionally until the mushrooms start to brown.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook until they soften slightly, about 3 more minutes.
  6. Add the chicken stock to the skillet and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  7. Stir in the pasta and cheese, cook until the cheese has melted.
  8. Divide among bowls, topping each bowl with some parmesan cheese.
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Slimmed Down Sensation: Chicken Piccata


Yesterday I posted a basic chicken piccata recipe. This is a dish I’ve made many times and this past Saturday I made it again. And…since weekends I am more lenient with what I eat and drink (what Dr. Oz calls “Faturday”….love that term!) I decided that I would indulge in some as well. To turn the recipe from full fat to slimmed down, all I did  was modify the amount of oil and butter, as well as cut back the amount of flour and parmesan cheese. My modified version is 8 pointsplus (Weight Watchers)…and let me tell you…it was SO GOOD! Even the Hubby enjoyed it and didn’t know it was “slimmed down” (until I told him, of course! 🙂 ). It tasted just as good as the original version, if not better because it didn’t have all that heaviness that comes from a lot of oil and butter.

One thing I would recommend with the slimmed down version, however, is that for the sauce you should start with the juice of only one lemon (or 1 tbsp. lemon juice) and allow it to cook for a few minutes. Then taste it as you go to see if you need more. One problem I did encounter was that it was a bit tangy from too much lemon (but it still tasted awesome!). Probably because it didn’t have as much butter as the original recipe to cut the tang!

Be sure to check out yesterday’s post “Chicken Piccata”  for some more tips on how to make this dish even more delish!

     

Slimmed Down Chicken Piccata (Makes 2 servings; 8 WW pointsplus)

10 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 1 small breast)

Salt & pepper, to taste

Garlic powder, to taste

2 tbsp. flour

2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated

½ tbsp. olive oil

Âź cup white wine

½ cup chicken stock

Lemon juice, from 1-2 lemons or 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. parsley

2 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp. light butter

  1. Prepare the chicken by cutting it in half lengthwise to make two filets, approximately 5 oz. each.  Pound each piece to 1/4” thick, using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or bottom of a heavy pan.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. In a shallow dish or plate, combine the flour and parmesan cheese.
  4. Heat the pan over medium heat and add the oil. Allow oil to get hot.
  5. Dredge the chicken in the flour/cheese mixture and place in the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes and flip, cooking until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pan and cover it with foil to keep warm.
  7. Using the same pan, add the wine, scraping up any bits of meat that may be stuck to the bottom.
  8. Add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Turn heat up to medium high and allow sauce to reduce, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has reduced to your preference (remember the longer you reduce the thicker the sauce…but don’t reduce too long or you won’t have enough sauce for the chicken.) remove from heat and swirl in the butter until melted. Stir in the parsley and capers.
  9. Pour the sauce over the chicken (I used 2 tbsp. for mine, and poured the rest over my hubby’s) and serve.
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Pizza Steak Rolls


I had some fancy  (well maybe not fancy…expensive?) cheese left over from another meal I made, so I decided to throw this together and it turned out to be very delicious. It passed the taste test of my number one fan and my number one critic…my hubby! I’m hopeful this will please your taste buds as much as it did for ours!

First off, I want to say that this recipe is what I like to call a great “base recipe”. By this I mean, it has all the main things you need to get started, but it is easily adapted to fit your own preferences as well as your own creativity. With this recipe, the possibilities are endless as you can use different types of meats, cheeses, sauces, spices, and so on….of course you may not want to call it a “steak roll up” if you’re using chicken, but you get the point.  Also, if you need it for a quick meal you can substitute using refrigerated pizza dough, pre-made pizza sauce in a jar, regular shredded mozzarella, and if you are brave enough…steak-ums (do they even still make those? Are they even really beef? Ok, ok…I like steak-ums, but I won’t cook with them!). If you want to make a more all natural meal and have more time (and it fits your budget) you can make your own pizza sauce with fresh tomatoes, herbs & spices, and fresh garlic and can get a better cut of steak at your local butcher, just ask them to slice it super-duper thin! Our local farmer’s market sells two versions of their chip steak: regular bottom round and prime rib; and of course, you can use whatever cheese you like…there are so many great unprocessed cheeses out there!  The version I have provided is a mixture of both (pizza dough from scratch, sauce from canned tomato sauce & paste, dried herbs, minced garlic from a jar, and basic bottom round cut of meat and some good cheese).

Even if you are a beginner cook, you have probably heard or read somewhere that the best food comes from the best ingredients. I have to say that this is absolutely true! That $100 truffle you just splurged on…absolutely tastes like one hundred dollars…worth every penny! But realistically the average Jane (or Joe) probably can’t afford the very best all the time, so my advice is to always get the very best that you can afford. I usually splurge once a week and make a meal with better ingredients than I normally would for everyday cooking. This is a nice way to have “date night in”….the food is as good or better than a restaurant and it is actually cheaper than going out. So however you decide to make this recipe it will taste good…and that is the main thing, right?

Pizza Steak Roll Up (Makes 2 large roll ups; enough for at least 4 very hungry adults)

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough (see recipe from earlier post) or refrigerated pizza dough

Sauce:

  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. sugar

½ lb-1 lb. chip steak

Pinch of salt & pepper (or to taste)

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of onion powder

1 oz. smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into thin strips

2 oz. fontina cheese

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

Instructions:

  1. Make the sauce: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Prepare the meat by sprinkling the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder on both sides.
  4. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the steak, chopping into smaller pieces, approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Divide pizza dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into two rectangular pieces.
  6. Spread about ½ cup of pizza sauce (more or less to taste) on each rectangle.
  7. Divide the meat in half and spread out on the both pieces of dough. If you desire, add more sauce on top of the meat.
  8. Using a cheese grater, grate the fontina cheese evenly over both pieces of dough. Then, place the mozzarella pieces evenly over each piece.
  9. Roll up each piece by first folding in the two end pieces and rolling over.
  10. Seal with a fork and poke a few holes in the top.
  11. Coat the top of the rolls with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and heated through.
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Taco Pie


This is a recipe I threw together one night when I wanted something quick to make for dinner and was limited on what was in the freezer and pantry. Tacos are always quick and easy but I just wasn’t in the mood for plain old tacos again. I ran across a few taco bake recipes online, but those didn’t appeal to me either. That’s when I came up with this recipe.

Since I only have to cook for two, I decided to use small corn tortillas, but I would suggest using larger tortillas as well as doubling everything else in the recipe if you are making it for more than two people. The version I made technically makes 4 servings (cut the pie in 4) but my husband had two pieces and I had almost a half of the fourth piece. Also, it will probably make a nicer presentation in the pie dish with the larger tortillas, as they should fill up the entire dish.

Taco Bake

1 lb. ground beef

1 packet taco seasoning

4 corn tortillas

1/4-1/2 cup sour cream (more or less to taste)

1 cup salsa

1 cup Mexican Style shredded cheese

6 tortilla chips, crushed

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground beef and drain off any excess grease.
  2. Add the taco seasoning to the beef, per the package directions.
  3. In a pie dish, place one corn tortilla in the bottom. Spread about 2 tbsp. sour cream (more or less to taste) over the tortilla, about 1/2 cup of the ground beef, 1/4 cup of the salsa, and 1/4 cup of the cheese (more or less to taste). Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make layers. Sprinkle the top layer with the crushed tortilla chips.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

ENJOY!!

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