Alley's Recipe Book
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Stuffed Squash Blossoms - total time 30 minutes

After being nibbled on by birds and bunnies, my squash plants finally started taking off when most should be finishing up production.  When you see more blossoms than maximum possible squash consumption, it is time for some stuffed squash blossoms!  I had my doubts at first, but hot off the stove, these things so yummy!

1 cup ricotta cheese
.25 cup cream cheese
1 egg
8 squash blossoms
herbs, salt & pepper
.5 cup flour
.5 cup water
.25 cup olive oil

1. Clean blossoms carefully with a brush or paper towel.  Combine the ricotta, cream cheese, egg, herbs, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.  Put cheese mixture in a piping bag to make stuffing the blossoms easier and cleaner.
2.  Heat oil in a small pot.  Mix flour and water in a small mixing bowl to make fry batter.  Stuff each blossom with one to two tablespoons of cheese filling.  Gently twist the petals closed, dip in fry batter, then fry in oil.  Fry for about two minutes and flip.

These are great by themselves, in a salad, or with pasta.

Lasagna Rollup - total time 50 minutes

After the success of Pesto Chicken Rollups from a couple weeks ago, I changed my normal lasagna recipe into rollups because they make perfect serving sizes.

1 lb ground turkey
1 cup ricotta
1 cup mozzarella, divided
1 egg
1.5 cup spinach
8 lasagna noodles
1 jar crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
italian herbs
salt & pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook ground turkey in a pan.  When turkey is just about fully cooked, add chopped spinach to wilt down a little.  Cook lasagna noodles.
2.  Combine turkey/spinach to ricotta, .5 cup mozzarella, egg, herbs, salt, and pepper.  
3.  Lay out lasagna noodles and spread the mixture across the noodle.  Roll the noodle up and place seam side down in a casserole dish.  Pour tomato sauce over top the rollups and top with mozzarella.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Spinach Artichoke Bake - total time 45 minutes

Casseroles are so simple and great for weeknight meals.  All the time is really hands off time in the oven.  Just combine all the ingredients and get it cookin'.  This one is no exception!

1 cup rice
1 lb chicken, chopped
1 jar artichoke hearts
1 lb spinach, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cheese, shredded
.5 cup cream cheese, softened
.5 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook rice according to package.  Cook chicken in pan (five minutes each side).  
2.  Combine rice, chicken, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, cheese, cream cheese, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.  Scoop into casserole dish and top with panko.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Broil for 2 minutes to get the panko a little toasty.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Muffins - total time 40 minutes

Summer berries are my delicious; raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries.  Yum!  I love them plain, but they are great  in desserts and 

6 oz. cream cheese
.25 cup butter
2 eggs
1.5 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup raspberries
1 cup chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together cream cheese and butter.  Add sugar and beat until whipped.   Add eggs and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients and add to bowl a little at a time.
2.  Gently stir in the raspberries and chocolate chips.  Spoon into muffin cups.  Bake for 22 minutes.

Spanakopita Rollups - total time 30 minutes

Spanakopita, usually little triangles served as appetizers (which always burn my mouth), but it really could be breakfast, a side dish, or a grab-and-go meal in this rolled up version.  Not sure why, but this way doesn't burn by mouth.  Those little triangles must be steam traps, so this way is so much better!

1 lb frozen spinach, thawed
.5 cup feta
.5 cup cream cheese, softened
1 roll of fillo dough
2 tbsp butter, melted
salt & pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Softened cream cheese in the microwave for 20 seconds.  Squeeze excess water out of the frozen spinach.  Mix cream cheese, spinach, feta, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.
2.  Lay out first filo dough sheet.  Brush butter over the sheet, add another sheet, and repeat.  Once 10 sheets are layered, spread spinach/cheese mixture over most of the sheet.  Roll sheet and "glue" shut with butter.  Place seam side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.

 Ignore the egg, I used butter instead of an egg wash.

Weekly Menu

This week is an easy menu since we are about to go on vacation in Colorado!  Trying to use what's growing in the garden (tomatoes, spinach, squash blossoms) since it might not be there when we get back.

lasagna rollups
stuffed squash blossom w/ spinach salad
spanakopita rollups
spinach artichoke bake
zucchini pepperoni pizza fritata

Broccoli & Cheese Stuffed Turkey Breast - total time 40 minutes

Before I started really cooking, I used to buy frozen stuffed chicken breast.  They tasted fine and were easy (just throw in the toaster oven).  But when you make them yourself with fresh ingredients... it just tastes so much better.  And you can customize it... like using your favorite cheese, trying turkey breast instead of chicken,using different bread crumbs like panko or whole wheat.

2 turkey breast cutlets
2 cups broccoli
4 slices of cheese - I used smoked gouda
.25 cup milk
.25 cup bread crumbs

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly steam large pieces of broccoli.
2.  Put a slice of cheese, some broccoli, then more cheese on the turkey cutlet, then wrap the turkey around and hold in place with a toothpick.
3.  Dip each cutlet into milk and roll in bread crumbs.  Put in casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.  Turn on broiler for one minute to toast the bread crumbs.  Yum!

BBQ Chicken Braid - total time 40 minutes

I have made calzones before, we call them Alley Doughs after our favorite college delivery place, DP Dough.  Braids are very similar, but actually easier, I think.  I have always used a pre-made pizza dough... so it is kind of 'semi-homemade', like that show on Food Network.  The new whole wheat pizza crust by Pilsbury is a good one.  Or the bags of whole wheat dough from Whole Foods.  Then just pick your filling!

1 package of pizza dough
1 lb chicken breast
.5 cup BBQ sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup sliced cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook chicken in pan for five minutes each side.  Chop chicken, continue to cook chicken in BBQ sauce with chopped onions for about three minutes.
2.  Prepare dough by laying flat on greased cookie sheet.  Cut 'ribbons' into the edged of the dough to braid.  Put filling in center of dough and criss-cross the ribbons over top.  Spray with some olive oil.
3.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool for at least five minutes before eating (the filling gets super hot!)


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