Friday, September 11, 2009

southwestern pasta bake

Despite the fact that Rachael Ray is full of crap, this is still one of my favorite cookbooks. For the most part, it is full of "normal" foods, has few big words, and has ingredients that aren't impossible to find. I also like it because it's fairly easy to make substitutions... like frozen salmon for fresh, for example. Although I'm sure fresh salmon is more tasty, I'm not buying ANYTHING that's "on sale" for $11.99 a pound. Homie don't play that.

(I find her choice of shirt for this cover amusing.)

And hey, if Rachael can do it in thirty minutes, then I can totally get it done in an hour and a half.

Last night, I tried this recipe for the first time:

Ingredients -

1 lb. penne or corkscrew pasta
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 lbs. chicken breast cut up in bite size pieces
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 large yellow onion, chopped (I had to use red.)
3 garlic cloves, chopped (notice the big jar of not exactly fresh garlic)
1 jalapeƱo, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat the broiler, with rack eight inches from heat.

Bring pot of water to boil. Salt water and boil pasta until slightly undercooked.

While the water is coming to boil, preheat skillet with veggie oil. Season chicken with cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken to skillet and lightly brown for 3-5 minutes.

Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeƱos, and continue to cook for five minutes. While it's cooking, make the cheddar sauce.

In a medium pot, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook for one to two minutes over moderate heat, and then whisk in the milk. When it comes to a boil, stir in the cheese, cilantro, and parsley with a wooden spoon (seriously, Rachael, wooden???). Season with a little salt and pepper, and remove the cheese sauce from the heat.

Drain cooked pasta and add it, the cheese sauce, and the contents of the chicken skillet back to the pot. Stir to combine. Transfer to a baking dish, and place under the broiler until lightly browned.

Alterations: I didn't use fresh parsley or garlic. I also ran out of chili powder, so I used the little bit that I had and added a little cayenne pepper (DANG IT. I just looked in my spice drawer to see how you spell "cayenne," and I found a whole other jar of chili powder). I also added extra cheese to the top before putting it under the broiler, because, after all, you can never have enough cheese.

Here is the final product:

I had made fresh pico de gallo over the weekend, so I served the pasta bake with tortilla chips and pico, cheese dip, and/or black bean dip.

Here's my plate. Don't be fooled. I went back for seconds... and also licked the spoon when I transferred it to tupperware... and also had a strawberry short cake for dessert.

I also shared some with these cuties - my niece and nephew - who had come to visit for the afternoon. I also fed their mother, my sister-in-law. She deserved it after I had yelled things to her like, "I need a 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro STAT."

I'd probably give this recipe a 6 out of 10. It was tasty enough, but it wasn't rockin' my world or anything. It seems like one of those things you'd get tired of pretty quickly. But it would be good once in a while and is definitely nice if you are trying to feed several people.
I have to say that trying to make RR recipes about gives me a panic attack. It's not even like I try to get it done in thirty minutes, but you have to do everything at the same time because that's how the recipe is written. So ALL the dishes in my kitchen are dirty, food scraps, cutting boards, and knives are EVERYWHERE, and I may be having a coronary on the floor by the time it's all done.

And afterwards, as my reward for slaving in the kitchen for HOURS (slight exaggeration), we got to sit down and watch...



Angela said...

Looks very tasty!! I love it that you say "DANG IT"! It is one of my favorite phrases that I know I probably shouldn't say. I have to really watch it around my 3 1/2 year old, but when it's just me and my 1 1/2 year old (who doesn't talk or really understand anything yet), I let it FLY! LOL

But what I really want now is your pico de gallo recipe!

melissa said...

Looks Yummy! I am going to have to make this!

Ha!! I always wonder who dresses Rachal Ray? You would think she would dress a little nicer.

SS said...

How in the world do you stay so thin?

Trace Car Driver said...

i also tend to get stressed when cooking. and i HATE to cook b/c of what you said, EVERY stinkin dish is dirty and in the kitchen sink by time it's all said and done. and i HATE doing the dishes!! and as for RR and her shirt, she always plans things that way i think. or at least it seems to me! anyways. i always enjoy your blog. lil jonut gets cuter by the day!

Anonymous said...

I have that same cookbook, but have never made anything out of it. You should tell me what recipes in it are really good and worth trying! Did you give yourself a pasta facial after you were done boiling the noodles? Sorry, couldn't help it. I like Rachael Ray's food, but that girl is a little too crazy for my liking :)


Jordan Sanders said...

The recipe you posted reminded me of this one, but not as many ingredients as Rachels "30" minute meals :

Makes 6 servings

1 (16-ounce) jar mild salsa
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (28-ounce) bag frozen cheese ravioli, unthawed
2 (19-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Combine first 3 ingredients. Pour 1/2 cup sauce mixture on the bottom of a lightly greased 2-quart oval or 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Top evenly with frozen cheese ravioli. Layer with black beans, chopped cilantro, green onions, and remaining sauce mixture; top evenly with shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Remove foil, and bake 5 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

It's TEX MEX RAVIOLI from southern living. The only thing I do different is add corn, the prep is so easy and pretty much everything is out of a can- our recycling bin always fills up after this meal.

As my uncle would say, "try it, you'll like it"...but in an annoying voice.

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

I was with you all the way til "Preheat the broiler, with rack eight inches from heat." Anything that specific is going to skunk me. I would've hung up my oven mitt right there.

Re: having all that crap going at the same time: If she told us to drive to the store while buying the ingredients while checking the drawer to make sure we had chili powder while cooking the dish while peeing, then we could have it done within 30 minutes AND have an empty bladder, to boot. It seems to me that the secret to her 30-minute recipes is to do all the steps that individually take 4 minutes and do them all simultaneously. TRICKY.

Lynnette said...

I don't think I could read and comprehend the recipe in 30 minutes. Let alone get out all the ingredients ... or cook it. Good for you for attempting it. I've looked at Rachel Ray stuff a couple of times and don't even attempt it!

Lynnette said...

Kathryn @ Grass Stains - your comment made me laugh!

Cassidy said...

That is totally the biggest jar of garlic I've ever seen! I buy the same brand but it only comes in a little baby food-sized jar at our grocery. I'm waiting on a recipe from a lady at our church who cooks for us on Wed. nights. It was this awesome mexican casserole with some kind of corn bread on the bottom. It was kick butt!

JAMBA said...

I also have this cookbook! My husband changes the title to 45-60 minute meals because I also can't do any of them in 30 minutes! I also agree with you about all the dirty dishes and mess afterwards. =) The pretzel chicken is pretty good as is the proscuitto and cheese stuffed chicken (don't know the page, but it's tasty!).

Sewconsult said...

Don't you hate to buy all those ingredients, use a bit & wait for the next urge to use them again & find they've been sitting on the shelf for "how many years?"? I only buy the ones that I know I will use quickly. Now that I cook for only DH & me (again). I buy the seasoning packages, like Taco, Enchilada, Alfredo, etc. Sure saves on time, too. I watch for them to go on sale & stock up.
Beckie in Brentwood, TN

Wanda Wilkinson said...

Looks very ummy...the smile on Matt's face looked like he enjoyed it. How did you find time to do all that???? It tired me out reading your directions (hahaha). Glad you enjoyed cooking, I love to cook but cleaning is for the BIRDS!!!!!!!

Jonah looks so sweet...he is ready for some Football.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Jasmine said...

I think it looks delicious... I may try it sometime!

Jonah is looking good these days too. Oh I have a question - does he still blister up pretty bad on his arms and legs under the bandages, or do they stay pretty clear most of the time?


purejoy said...

as rachel would say. . . yummoh!!
looks good and football for dessert!!?? perfect ending, i say.
patrice, we've got to get you on this wagon!!

Jackie said...

Looks like a good recipe to try with leftover grilled chicken. It would shorten the time.

Nancy said...

Freakin' football! I feel your pain sister (as I type this, my dad is up from MD and he & Dave are packing the car for the Penn State game).

Your meal looks fab but I agree, RR is full of crap! THough her recipes are tasty. I subscribe to Everyday Food and though its a Martha Stewart publication, they have very easy recipes with everyday ingredients. Its awesome! ALot of their stuff is on their website.

Anonymous said...

I like leftovers. So what time do you serve them?
Thanks for sharing the receipe.

M J said...

Looks yummy. I THINK every one in my house might actually eat it, too! That in and of itself would be a small miracle!

Erin said...

that is hands-down my favorite recipe out of that book! I use jarred minced garlic and dry parsley and cilantro. Still tastes great! I also put all the spices for the chicken into a gallon size bag and then "mix" the chicken in it (think Shake-n-bake). That way everything gets the flavor.

The one for Turkey Tacos is pretty darn amazing too-beer is an ingredient (yum!). i can totally relate about making everything at-the-same-time as Rachael does it and ending up with a sink full of dishes and a counter full of random spice bottles and onion peels.

Glad you are keeping yourself busy and enjoying all that football!! :)

the-mommy-person said...

Looks pretty good. I might have to try it. Loved the pictures! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

That boy of yours is so cute. If you want a good Rachael recipe, try Cowboy Spaghetti. It's easy and is a good twist on regular spaghetti. PS - I love your blog. Thanks so much for sharing ups, downs, and dinner ideas :-)

Meredith from Williamsburg, VA

Anonymous said...

I am getting worse as I get older when it comes to using EVERY dish,spoon,rag in the kitchen. Wonder then 'was it worth it?'
Not so much anymore. Cheese in a can and crackers, no clean-up:)
prayers always,

Toni :O) said...

I want your pico de gallo recipe too! I'm impressed you tackled that recipe...the thought of all of those ingredients scared me since I sell Tastefully Simple and you only need one to two ingredients to make a tasty meal in about 15 minutes..NO LIE there chicka! I cracked up at Jonut's face watching football..priceless! Have a great weekend and enjoy your leftovers...if there are any.

Laura A said...

Wow! You are far braver than I am! It looks like a tasty dish, but unless I can cook it in one (or MAYBE two) dishes, it's probably not happenin'. Awesome that you make your own pico, too!

We just had tostadas with Spanish rice tonight - quick and easy, and strangely enough, less messy than tacos (meaning the kids can eat them without having food explode everywhere!) And I did make oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies tonight. I, um er I mean the KIDS really needed some!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Love from TX!

Nikki said...

It WAS a really good game, though. Totally worth the vegging out in front of the television! :)

queenmari said...

i'm glad to know i'm not the only one who can't make a rr recipe in 30 minutes--you have made me feel better already.

this one sounded good though ands i might try it sometime and add a bit to it for more flavor.

it is football season isn't it? tomorrow we're off to watch wsu playing at quest field (seahawks stadium) and then sunday guess where we going? yes, back to guest field for the seahawks. that will be my required football attendence for the season :)


kim_brough said...

I totally love it that you said "Homie don't play that" in this post!

Elisabeth Bishop said...

Patrice - you make me laugh out loud!

Kim said...

I have this cookbook! Yay! I will try this recipe!

(It's the only cookbook I own. I am pretty sure it has fluffernutter brownies in it. If not, then it's in another of her cookbooks that a friend stole from me...but whatever. They are mighty good.)

rindie09 said...

this is so funny...I feel the same way about Rachael Ray! I loved watching her shows and thought, "I can totally do that!" 30 Minute Meals are not for mommies, lol! You are have to have everything going at once and have it all ready at the same time. Impossible when the kids are playing, yelling, fighting, wanting to be held or needing to be changed. It is so stressful, and my kitchen ends up destroyed, just like you said! It's nice to know I'm not alone :) Give me a crock pot recipe any day, lol!