Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Top-5 Tuesday: Recipes

As you all know, I LOVE to try new recipes. In fact, Darby jokes that he can't get too attached to any recipe I make because I'll probably never make it again. :) However, I do have a few "tried-and-true" recipes that I go back to over and over. The common denominator (except for the red velvet cake) is that they are all quick and easy (and taste great, of course!). So, here are my current 5 favorite recipes:

1. Cheesy Stuffed Shells

20 jumbo pasta shells, cooked, drained, and rinsed with cold water
1 26 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
16 oz. cottage cheese
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 c. grated mozzarella, divided
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
1 tsp. oregano

Spoon thin layer of spaghetti sauce into 9x13 pan. Mix cottage cheese, spinach, 1/2 c. mozzarella, Parmesan, and oregano. Spoon filling into jumbo pasta shells and place in pan. Top with remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake 25 mins. at 400 degrees. Uncover. Top with remaining mozzarella. Bake 5-10 mins. more until cheese is melted and bubbly.

2. Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
I usually add 4 oz. cubed Velveeta during the last 30 minutes of cooking instead of topping with cheddar cheese before serving.

3. Cottage Cheese Bread
This sounds weird, I know, but it's so good.

1 pkg. yeast (regular or rapid-rise)
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. cottage cheese
1 tbsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
2-1/4 c. flour
1 c. grated cheddar cheese

Sprinkle yeast over water. Let stand 5 mins. and stir gently. In mixer, blend yeast, cottage cheese, sugar, salt, and egg. Add flour, 1/2 c. at a time, until stiff dough forms. (I use the dough hook on my KitchenAid mixer, and I only mix until the dough pulls away from the bottom of the bowl. I'm sure you could knead by hand as well.) Cover dough and let rise 1 hour (mine never rises very much, but it always turns out fine). Press down dough and mix in cheddar cheese with your hands. Transfer to greased 1-1/2 quart round casserole dish. Bake about 40-50 minutes at 350 (until golden brown on top). Brush with melted butter.

4. Big, Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
You can make these cookies smaller, but they're not nearly as soft and good. If you do make them smaller, be sure to reduce the baking time.

2 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 sticks butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 c. chocolate chips (milk or semisweet)

Mix together dry ingredients and set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto baking sheets. (Make sure to leave 2-3 inches between cookies. They will be very big!) Bake 15-18 mins. at 325.

5. Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
This cake is a little fussy but so worth it. I've switched to using cake mixes for almost all cakes, but I still do this one from scratch. Note that the original recipe calls for 3 oz. red food coloring. That is A LOT. I use just 1 oz., and it's plenty red. Also, I make my cream cheese frosting a little differently. I like it really tangy, so I start with 16 oz. cream cheese and 1 stick butter. Then, I just add powdered sugar and vanilla until it tastes right. I don't like it to be super sweet. Whatever you do, do NOT overbake this cake. Check it early and often.

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