Crepes for Manicotti

Have you ever made homemade pasta? Oh my, it is a game changer my friends! It is so delicate and wonderful, it totally takes your meal to the next level.

I have been making my own pasta since the early days of our marriage. I bought an Italian cookbook that had a recipe for tri color fettuccine alfredo that I knew I had to try. Hubby bought me a wonderful Atlas pasta machine and I taught myself how to make homemade pasta, including carrot and spinach fettuccine.

It is a lot fun, impressive and delicious, but let’s be real, it’s a little bit of work too. These days when I make it, I make extra to put in the freezer as well.

Recently, I was on Facebook, in an Instant Pot group I belong to, and they were discussing making lasagna in your pot. It’s on my list to try as it is super easy and you use a springform cheesecake pan. Well the owner of the group was talking about how she makes her own noodles and it is super easy. She showed a picture and her noodles were perfectly round.

My little brain started thinking- that’s a lot of extra work just to get round noodles, I’d rather stick with a tradition lasagna… but then I kept reading and she was using CREPES.

I remembered also reading a couple of years ago that manicotti is frequently made with crepes, so this made sense.  I definitely want to try the instant pot lasagna soon-but on this day, I decided to give the manicotti a try.

I know, crepes seem very difficult, how is this really making this dish simpler than making your own pasta dough? Well, I think if you give crepes a try, you will see they are worth an extra few minutes.

Years ago we went to a friend’s house, her kids were just finishing breakfast, and i was surprised to see that they were having crepes, on a week day 🙂
My friend assured me that what I thought was fancy and difficult was the easiest thing in the world. She then proceeded to give me a crepe lesson, and truly it is just a matter of getting the technique down, and learning the quirks of your kitchen tools. I have learned that my 9 inch cast iron skillet and a little less than a 1/4 cup of batter make the perfect size/thickness of crepe. I also had to use more oil in my pan than I thought.

Now, to make sure this blog post doesn’t get EVEN LONGER 🙂 I’m going to recommend that you go on You Tube and watch some videos on how to make them at home. The ingredients are not expensive, so don’t feel badly about tossing a few as you learn, but I think you will catch on really quickly.

The filling is super simple, combine the cheeses with some parsley. I then used one of my cookie scoops to portion out the filling, about 3 tablespoons per crepe noodle.

After ladling a little marinara in my pans, I placed the rolled manicotti in the pans.

After topping with more mozzarella I covered with foil and baked for 20 minutes, and then uncovered for 20 more.

Now, you may be a little skeptical like I was, how does a thin egg-y pancake end up tasting like delicate pasta? Something magical must happen while it bakes, because it totally does. 🙂  I hope you will give these a try, maybe this weekend.

Manicotti with Crepe Noodles

Ingredients

CREPE NOODLES:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

FILLING:

  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes optional
  • 1-1.5 quarts good marinara sauce homemade is best
  • Additional mozzarella cheese for topping

Instructions

  1. Place flour in a bowl; whisk in milk, eggs and salt until smooth. Rest in the fridge at least one hour. Pour a scant 1/4 cup onto a hot greased 9 inch skillet; quickly twirl pan to distribute batter all around forming a circle. Cook over medium heat until set; Turn when the top looks dry, about 40-45 seconds first side, 10-15 seconds on the second. Repeat with remaining batter, making about 12 crepes. Stack crepes on a plate; set aside.
  2. For filling, combine cheeses, egg and parsley. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons down the center of each crepe; roll up. Pour half of the spaghetti sauce into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Place crepes, seam side down, over sauce; pour remaining sauce over top. Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese if desired and bake 20 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings.

This post is part of the Weekend Potluck, be sure to check it our for many great recipes.

 

 

Chili Cheese Cornbread Casserole

Recently my husband and I had a potluck to attend, and knowing that main dishes as usually few and far between, I set out to find a main dish that was easy to prepare, transport, and wouldn’t break the bank.

I found the perfect recipe at From Valerie’s Kitchen. With the cold weather we have been having, I knew the chili would hit the spot, and a casserole would be easier to transport than a pot of chili.

On the night I made it, I was in a bit of a hurry, so I made a few modifications to mine. I used ground beef, subbed Rotel and an extra can of green chiles for the tomato sauce, and did not add the celery. I also used 2 cans of chili beans.

I try to use dried beans in my kitchen more these days, but the canned ones really came thru in a pinch.

The chili mixture was nice and thick as it simmered on the stove, it didn’t take long at all. By the time I had the cornbread mixture ready, I was able to top it with the chili and pop it right into the oven.

I was thankful this was such a quick meal to pull together. Our potluck last week actually got cancelled due to the terrible cold, so I was able to pull this recipe out earlier this week when I needed a quick dinner. My hubby loves chili and cornbread, and his standard response to what would you like for dinner is “Something hot, meaty, and cheesy.”  This met all the requirements and was very filling on a cold winters night.

Here is the printable for my version of Chili Cheese Cornbread Casserole. Leftovers are even better the next day, and they freeze very well.

 

Chili Cheese Cornbread Casserole

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 2 colves garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
  • 1 15 ounce can Rotel
  • 1 4 ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 2 16 ounce can chili beans in sauce
  • 1 15 ounce can cannellini beans or small white beans, drained
  • 2 8.5 ounce packages Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • Milk and eggs see corn muffin mix for amounts
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend
  • Sour cream optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, brown ground beef, onion, and garlic. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Add chili powder, black pepper, cumin, crushed red pepper, Rotel and green chiles. Add beans and mix well while simmering. While continuing to simmer, prepare corn bread according to package directions.
  2. Spread cornbread into a greased 9x13 pan. Spoon chili mixture over the top of unbaked cornbread.

  3. Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes. Edges of cornbread should be nicely browned and center should appear to be set. Top casserole with cheese and return to oven and bake 5-10 minutes more, until cheese is melted.

  4. When serving you can add sour cream, chopped cilantro, even diced jalapenos on the side.

This post is part of the Weekend Potluck. Check out many more delicious recipes HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Tortellini Soup Recipe

I wasn’t going to do another soup recipe this week, but our weather got bitterly cold again, and soup just sounded like a good idea. I was reminded in my Facebook memories about a creamy tortellini soup I made that we enjoyed, but I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere.

So I Googled, and came across this tomato based soup that I had all the ingredients for on 365daysofcrockpot.com  You are going to want to head over to 365 Days of Crockpot for tons of great recipes for both your slow cooker and instant pot.

As I looked at the tortellini soup recipe, I saw that her recipe is for the Instant pot, and while I LOVE my pressure cooker, I felt the 2 different cooking steps she mentions might not save me any time over a stove top method. So after making a few tweaks to the recipe, I was able to very quickly get this soup simmering on the stove as I put the french bread I made earlier in the day in the oven.

Since I was pressed for time, I realized I wouldn’t have time for the spices to really flavor the tomato sauce well, so I opted to use a good jarred spaghetti sauce instead.

I also subbed in a quart of chicken broth for 4 cups of the liquid which also added a good flavor to the soup. Lastly, I upped the veggie count in the soup by grating 5 carrots, and using 2 zucchini.

Once I had the vegetables grated and chopped, I started browning the meat. We love Italian sausage, but it can be a little pricey. One way I save a little bit of money is by purchasing ground pork when it is on sale, and then seasoning it myself with either a breakfast or italian sausage seasoning blend. I try to stock the freezer with pork when it is $1.99 or less per pound. Our favorite premade sausage is about $4.39 per pound, so even by adding in all the spices, it still is a significant savings for our grocery bill

After draining the sausage, I added all the remaining ingredients other than the noodles and the zucchini and simmered for 15-20 minutes. Then, about 15 minutes before dinner, I added them in, so that neither would get too mushy.

All in all, I was very pleased with how the soup turned out. Very hearty and flavorful, and quick enough for a weeknight dinner. We garnished ours with some shaved Parmesan cheese. With some warm, buttered french bread, it was a great dinner for a cold winter’s night. Let me know if you decided to try it this weekend, I would love to hear from you.

Here is the printable recipe:

5 from 1 vote
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Tortellini Soup

A great soup for a quick weeknight dinner

Course Soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 24 ounces spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 5 carrots grated or sliced into quarter inch rounds
  • 1 10 oz package frozen or fresh cheese tortellini**
  • 1 medium green pepper diced
  • 2 medium zucchini diced

Instructions

Brown the sausage and drain off any excess grease. Add in the chopped onion and the minced garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.

    Add remaining ingredients, but reserve zucchini and tortellini. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add remaining ingredients and simmer until zucchini and tortellini are cooked by not mushy.

      Ladle into bowls and garnish with shaved parmesan and serve with warm french bread.

        If you’re looking for more great recipes to try this weekend, check out the

         

         

         

        Ham & Bean Soup- A Christmas Tradition

        For many years now, my husband has been given a wonderful spiral sliced ham from his employer at Christmas time. It is a real blessing, because it’s not something we would normally splurge on, so we really enjoy it.

        After a few days of leftovers from Christmas dinner, if there is any meat left, we take it off the bone and freeze it. I am much happier to see it again in a couple of weeks, and it feels like a treat all over again, 🙂

        But the ham bone? I don’t throw it away, because it makes the most delightful soup.

        There are a million ways to make ham and bean soup, and usually I just do a pinch of this and that. But this year I measured and documented, and I am so glad that I did, because this was easily the best ham and bean soup I have ever made. Hubby even said it was REALLY good after he had his first bite.

        At Easter dinner this past year, my sister in law offered me her leftover ham bone, which I gladly accepted. I wanted to try it out in my new electric pressure cooker.

        So I really put it to the test- I did not soak the beans, and only cooked the soup in the pressure cooker, no simmering on the stove. The soup was really good, and had a nice flavor, but I must admit, a few of the beans were harder than others. Now it could have been that my beans were older, and some of them were just tough. I love my pressure cooker and it was so nice to have the soup done very quickly so I was able to share some with her, but maybe I should have cooked it  few minutes longer.

        As you will see below, for my soup this year, I once again used my pressure cooker, but only for the initial cooking of the beans. Because we had a lazy day at home, I let it simmer on the stove for about 4 hours, and the flavor was amazing! Here was my process start to finish:

        Note: Detailed  printable recipe at the end of this post

        STEP ONE

        Soak the beans over night. I do think this is an important step, though it can be skipped, and there are quick soak methods. But I think it does help with digestibility, and is a super easy step, as long as you remember to plan ahead. I use this bowl with a dinner plate on top. Keep in mind that your beans will expand quite a bit as they soak.

        STEP TWO

        The next day, I drained the soaking water from the beans and put them in my electric pressure cooker. I added a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles, a can of more green chiles, some cumin, diced onion, minced garlic, 3 cups filtered water, and most importantly, a drizzle of olive oil to keep the beans from foaming in the pressure cooker. I selected the Beans setting and hit start.

        After the 40 minute cycle, the beans were cooked nicely, the flavors were well infused , and the cooking liquid was thick and rich. Note: that time does not include the cooker coming to pressure, or the pressure being released from the cooker.

        STEP THREE

        I poured the beans and broth into a large stock pot and added another can of Rotel and another tablespoon of cumin. To that I added 4 bay leaves (leaving them whole to be removed later), and a quart of chicken broth. I also diced up about 2 cups worth of leftover ham, and I added the ham bone.

        You will notice I have not at any point added any salt. I did not add any when the beans were initially cooking, because that can make them tough. And I held off at this point because I knew the ham and chicken broth were both salty. In the end, the soup needed no additional seasoning.

        This simmered on the stove for about 4 hours. Several hours in, I removed the ham bone to a cutting board and cut the remaining meat off the bone and added it back into the soup.

        STEP FOUR

        After we enjoyed our soup, I let the remainder cool on the stove before I packaged them up. While I generally store all our leftovers in glass these days, for my soups and sauces, I use plastic containers to freeze them in. I have not had good success with freezing in glass jars, I just don’t think they are as well made as they used to be, and do not withstand freezing well. So I use these thick deli style containers.  For 2 of the containers I left plenty of headroom for freezing, and the third I knew hubby would be taking to work the next day for lunches, so I filled it all the way up.

        Whew, this has been a long post, but I hope you enjoyed it and will give making ham & bean soup a try. We are really not fans of beans, but we all love this soup.

        ***Here is a link to the containers I use from Amazon.com.   I am an Amazon affiliate and will receive a small commission if you purchase through this link, but it will not increase your purchase price. Thank you for buying me a latte every now and then 🙂 ***

        DuraHome – Deli Food Storage Containers With Lids 32 Ounce, Quart Pack of 24 – Plastic Microwaveable Container

        Here’s the detailed recipe:

        5 from 1 vote
        Print

        Ham & Bean Soup

        A great recipe to make use of Easter or Christmas ham leftovers

        Servings 8

        Ingredients

        For Pressure Cooker

        • 1 lb 15 bean soup mix
        • 3 cups water
        • 1 can Rotel 10 oz
        • 1 can chopped green chiles 4 oz
        • 1 small onion minced
        • 5 cloves garlic minced
        • 1 tbs ground cumin
        • 1 tbs olive oil

        For the Stove top

        • Beans and cooking liquid
        • 1 can Rotel 10 oz
        • 1 tbs cumin
        • 4-5 bay leaves
        • 2 cups chopped ham
        • 1 ham bone
        • 1 quart chicken broth

        Instructions

        1. Pressure Cooker Instructions:  
          Add the oil last, it helps keep the beans from foaming and creating a mess when the pressure is released. Set cooker to the Beans setting, or set manually to 40 minutes, and let the beans naturally release pressure (NPR) after the cooking cycle is complete.

        2. Stovetop Instructions:  
          Add all ingredients to a large stockpot and simmer for 3-4 hours. After several hours, remove ham bone and cut remaining meat off the bone and add the bone and meat back to the pot. Before serving, remove bay leaves and discard.

        Recipe Notes

        This soup freezes very well, but make sure to leave plenty of head space in container before freezing.

        Our first BBQ of the season

        ribs-for-blog1

        Our grill needed some new parts, and the propane needed to be filled, so it has been quite a while since we have been able to grill out. Hubby fixed the grill and filled the tank today, so to celebrate, we dug some ribs out of the freezer and I grilled them along with some chicken for a late dinner.

        I hope they taste as good as they look! Man, I love summer!

        MYO Seasonings

        salt-for-blog

        I prefer to make my own spice blends, so I am sure that what I am
        using is free of chemicals or additives that are unnecessary or even
        harmful. So I love it when I find copycat recipes for some of the
        popular seasonings on the market.
        Today a recipe I wanted to try required Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, so I
        did a Google search for a recipe, and here is what I found at grouprecipes.com
        Ingredients

        • 2 tablespoons salt
        • 2 teaspoons sugar
        • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
        • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
        • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
        • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
        • 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch

         

        Directions

        • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
        • Pour blend into an empty spice bottle with a shaker top to store.
        • Makes 1/4 CUP

         

        Another seasoning I use a lot of  is Ranch dressing mix, it is so simple to make your own.
        5 Tablespoons instant minced onions
        7 teaspoon parsley flakes
        4 teaspoon salt
        1 teaspoon garlic powder
        ( I always add some fresh minced garlic when preparing dressing or dip, but then we really LOVE garlic)
        Mix together and store in an air tight container.
        For dressing: Mix 2 Tablespoons dry mix with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream.  (I use buttermilk.)
        For dip: Mix 2 Tablespoons dry mix with 2 cups sour cream.
        Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend nicely.
        Note from Me: This seasoning is also good mixed in hamburger,
        before grilling, and tossing with some oil and diced potatoes for
        awesome roasted potatoes.

        Quick tip: Batter for frying

        On Pioneer Woman Cooks she just posted a quick recipe for chicken tenders, and she did a really neat trick that I have just have to post because I don’t want to forget it.

        She added a little bit of milk to her flour mixture, so it adhered to the chicken better and made little crunchy nooks and crannies. Be sure to check it out for the full recipe too!

         

        Thanksgiving Notebook

        So today I decided to get organized about our Thanksgiving dinner.  I made a master shopping list, and a menu, and printed all my recipes and put them in a notebook with page protectors.  I plan on doing a lot of the cooking ahead of time this week, and then I can check the items off of my menu.

        I also plan on getting out each of my serving items and placing a post note on them, with what goes in each dish.  I will do that as they get washed.  I have done this in the past and it is a huge help.

        What things are you doing to make things run more smoothly at your home this week?

        Menu Plan Monday

        Ok, here is what our menu looks like this week, Nov 10.

        Monday and Tuesday Roast with potatoes and carrots

        Wednesday Shredded chicken tacos, spanish rice, corn

        Thursday Baked Potato Soup

        Friday Homemade pizza and salad

        Saturday Spaghetti, bread and salad

        Sunday Leftovers