Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trying something new...

Wow!  I never realized what a hit my chicken sandwiches were going to be.  I just put them out on Pinterest as a lark and it took off like wildfire!  Thank you for all the wonderful comments.  They really are great sandwiches and we probably have them about twice a month when it's grilling weather! Maybe I should start sharing  more things that I make!

Here's what I made for dinner Monday night.  I was in the mood for a casserole and found this one in 365:No Repeats by Rachael Ray.  I adapted it to work with what I had on hand it was delicious! I'll try to post the recipe as I made it.

Rachael Ray's Southwestern Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake
1 pound penne rigate (ridged penne)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon ground cumin (1 palmful)
1 tablespoon roasted ground coriander (1 palmful)

2 tablespoons chili powder (2 palmfuls)
Coarse black pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-5 garlic cloves, chopped (we really like garlic so I put in more, the recipe calls for 3)
1 jalepeño
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (2 palmfuls)
2 cups milk
3/4 pound cheddar cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (a generous handful), chopped
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (a few handfuls) chopped
1 14-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

Preheat the broiler to high and position the rack 8 inches from the heat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until slightly undercooked--a little chewy at the center.

While the water is coming to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the hamburger.  When the hamburger is almost finished, but still a little pink, throw in the garlic, jalepeño, and onions and finish cooking until the burger is browned and the onion is translucent.  Drain the grease from the skillet and mix in the cumin, coriander and chili powder.  Take off the heat or turn heat down low.

In a medium sauce pot (and you can do this while you're browning the hamburger), melt the butter and add the flour to it.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese, cilantro and parsley with a wooden spoon.  When the cheese has melted, stir in the tomatoes.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the large pot.  Add the contents of the hamburger and all of the Cheddar sauce, and stir to combine.  Transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with a bit more cheese if you wish, and place under the broiler to lightly brown.

It says it makes 4 servings, but with a salad, can easily feed 6!  It was another hit in our house!  I also think it would do well in a crockpot to take to a potluck.  Just add a bit more milk to the cheese mixture so it doesn't get too dried out.  I'm going to try it for the next potluck we have and we usually have plenty of potlucks throughout the year!

Oh.. and do you want pictures?  I hope so, because I took a couple!


21 comments:

  1. Looks absolutely delicious! Love your site by the way!

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  2. Looks great and i love a cheesy pasta dish! I'll be trying this out this week. Thanks!

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  3. Saw this on Pinterest yesterday and made it today - so GOOD!

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  4. Please post a link for your chicken sandwiches or your Pinterest account.

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    1. The link for the chicken sandwich is http://livinglight58.blogspot.com/2012/03/our-favorite-sandwiches-ever.html

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  5. Glad you have enjoyed the pasta! I haven't made it in a while, but coming back has reminded me of how delicious it is!

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  6. Ummmmm this shall be 2marrow nights dinner! Thanx!

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  7. Hi I wanna try this out but I have kids around the house. Is it and will it be too spicy for them?

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    1. I didn't think it was too spicy and my 5-year-old ate it. If you're worried about it, you can always substitute a can a regular diced tomatoes and/or leave out the jalepeño.

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  8. Fixed this tonight & WOW! So very good. I followed the recipe to a T. Unfortunately I was out of a few of the spices it called for so I broke down & went & got them. I would suggest you don't skip out on any of them, they all play a big factor in the taste! GREAT recipe!!!!

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  9. My family LOVES this recipe!!! However, I did make a few alterations to suite the little ones in my home. I left out the jalepenos and added a can of corn. Also, I do NOT add my tomatoes to the cheese sauce because it will become curdled and appear as though you have used ricotta/cottage cheese. Instead, i just add them to my meat mixture. Also, I have found, after making this recipe a couple of times, that my cheese sauce is much creamier if I whisk my cheese into my milk a little at a time and whisk the entire time. I also add extra ground cumin because I just LOVE it!!! Great, Great recipe! Thanks so much!!

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  10. I calculated the nutritional info on this for six servings for whoever is interested. Each serving is 893.2 calories, protein 47.3 g, carbohydrate 67g, fat 48.3 g, fiber 3.5 g. Therefore 24 Weight Watchers Points Plus. Yikes!! If using 1-pound beef, 2%cheddar and light butter, it's 18 points... still a lot!! Better save this recipe for a special day.It looks really yummy and I'm dying to try it.

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    1. Ground turkey would probably lighten it up quite a bit as well.

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  11. Certainly not something to make on a weekly or a monthly basis, but if you're wanting something tasty for a treat or to take to a potluck, it's a great choice. I think I've made it twice. Not a great thing to make when one is trying to lose weight!

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  12. I noticed it didn't call for any salt except for the salted water of the pasta. Did you use any to season the ground beef or in the cheese sauce?

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  13. Pretty good!! I tried to cut the calories, so I used 1% milk and the sharp cheddar that's made with 2% milk. I also used 1lb ground beef, added 1 can of black beans, added some bell pepper and 1/2 an extra jalepeno- it was spicy! The cheese/milk mixture didn't blend well. Probably because I used lowfat. So after the pasta was done I added just the cheese mixture and turned the heat up and it blended nicely, then I added the meat mixture. I didn't bake it because my husband was super hungry and wanted to EAT! I think that mixing it all together with the heat on made it thicken it up like the oven would have done. This way it was about 500 calories per serving, 8 servings. Oh, we also only used a 12oz box of pasta, so not quite 1 lb, but we actually liked it that way.

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  14. We really enjoyed this recipe. Thank you for posting it! I do not see how 6 people could eat all of this! I split the recipe between 2 casserole dishes. I froze one and we ate one. In my opinion, this serves more like 10-12. I served it with a side salad and fruit. There are 5 of us and we all had our fill and there was still a serving left over for hubby's lunch tomorrow. I did add 1 tsp of salt to the ground beef as it was cooking. Even then, it needed a touch of salt at the table. I used a 14 oz box of Barilla Plus pasta rather than 1# of regular pasta. I added the tomatoes to the ground beef rather than to the cheese sauce. It is a very easy recipe. Very filling, full flavored, and inexpensive to make. Thank you!!!

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  15. Excited to try this for dinner tonight!

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  16. Do you drain the can of tomatoes first? I assume so, but it didn't say, so just want to be sure. Making this now, looks so yummy!

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  17. This looks sooo amazing---my family would love it...found at project inspired linky part (linked up as a roundup by scattered thought of a crafty mom). pinned to try..Have a great week:)

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