Monday, July 28, 2008

Beef and Mashed Potato Stuffed Peppers

I think the name says it all for this one. I feel like I keep saying this but I promise this meal is so easy! Can you brown meat? Can you boil and mash potatoes? Can you cut the tops off of peppers? Can you put food in an oven? Then you can do it!

Messes: A little bit goes a long way with this recipe. I had leftover everything (with the exception of the peppers). So you can go easy on the ingredients if you'd like but leftovers are just as good too. My main frustration with this was placing the peppers upright in the dish and moving them to the oven. They kept falling over! I had to prop them against the walls of the dish rather than placing them perfectly in the center as I had wanted to. But once you get them in there you have nothing else to worry about!

Successes: A yummy meal all wrapped up into one pepper. I used more red bell peppers than green because they looked better at the store but either one works or you could even mix it up a bit and go with some yellows or orange bell peppers. Either way this meal will be fully satisfying. I kept trying to think of a good side dish to go with but I really didn't need anything. You've got meat, potatoes, and veggies. Delish!

Beef and Mashed Potato Stuffed Peppers [Rachael Ray]

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pasta Salad with Spinach, Olives, and Mozzarella

My dad loves to make pasta salads. I would have to say it's possibly one of his "signature dishes". So when I came across the recipe, I was excited to have my own to share. And it's pretty healthy too!

Messes: The first time I made this I cut the pieces of mozzarella too large and they ended up sticking together at the bottom. The second time around I made sure to cut them into smaller pieces so they would be more evenly distributed. You will also need a very large bowl for this dish -- or you can cut down on the ingredients. I would recommend using about a half a pound of pasta (trust me, it goes a long way). And don't worry about the "freshly ground pepper". You can just as easily get away with the regular pepper that comes in those little metal shakers.

Successes: Major success! Super easy to throw together and you'll have lots of leftovers for the week. I have never heard a single complaint about this pasta salad. Although, I've accompanied it with chili at parties and I have to say -- make sure you serve this first! People just aren't as interested in chilled pasta salads when there are warm bowls of chili to be had.

Pasta Salad with Spinach, Olives, and Mozzarella [Chow]

Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Here's a really simple and equally delish recipe for Artichoke and Spinach Dip. Who doesn't love that?

Messes: I skipped out on cutting the flour tortillas into fourths and just bought a big ol' bag of chips. If you're feeling really adventurous then by all means, make your own. I also had no idea what "julienned" meant. These recipes and their big words -- ha! So in case you're like me, here's the def: Julienning is a method of food preparation in which the food item is cut into long thin strips.

Successes: It won't look as good as when you order it off a menu but I promise it tastes as good. Maybe even better since you made it yourself! Try it out first and then when you're feeling confident, invite some friends over and serve.

Artichoke and Spinach Dip [Emeril]
(this one isn't from Ray-Ray! Can you believe it?!??!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

BBQ Beef Sandwiches

Summer Time!!! Break out the bbq and heat up some beans. It's time for some tasty summer meals. This one comes together pretty quickly but does not lack the feeling of a grand grilled meal.

Successes: I'm always nervous the first time I make a dish. I get worried that no one is going to like it. But I ended up making this at a family party and it was LOVED! My concerned went from no one liking it to there not being enough. It's super easy -- I even convinced my friend (who was complaining that she doesn't know how to make things) to recreate it.

Messes: Just be careful when you're cooking the meat. It will cook all the way through a LOT faster than you think and the longer it cooks the tougher it becomes.

BBQ Beef Sandwiches [Rachael Ray]