Sunday, August 31, 2014

Birthday Dinner

My boyfriend's birthday was last week and I didn't get to cook him the dinner I had planned so I had to do it this week. I wanted to share what I made because I thought it tasted soooo good. I make a cheesy pasta casserole type dish and banana cream pie for dessert! Amazing!

Rachael Ray's Southwestern Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake

1 pound penne rigate (ridged penne)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon ground cumin (1 palmful)
1 tablespoon roasted ground coriander (1 palmful)

2 tablespoons chili powder (2 palmfuls)
Coarse black pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-5 garlic cloves, chopped (we really like garlic so I put in more, the recipe calls for 3)
1 jalepeño
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (2 palmfuls)
2 cups milk
3/4 pound cheddar cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (a generous handful), chopped
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (a few handfuls) chopped
1 14-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

Preheat the broiler to high and position the rack 8 inches from the heat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until slightly undercooked--a little chewy at the center.

While the water is coming to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the hamburger.  When the hamburger is almost finished, but still a little pink, throw in the garlic, jalepeño, and onions and finish cooking until the burger is browned and the onion is translucent.  Drain the grease from the skillet and mix in the cumin, coriander and chili powder.  Take off the heat or turn heat down low.

In a medium sauce pot (and you can do this while you're browning the hamburger), melt the butter and add the flour to it.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese, cilantro and parsley with a wooden spoon.  When the cheese has melted, stir in the tomatoes.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the large pot.  Add the contents of the hamburger and all of the Cheddar sauce, and stir to combine.  Transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with a bit more cheese if you wish, and place under the broiler to lightly brown.

Recipe: Rachel Ray found on: gonnawantseconds

Recipe for the Banana Cream Pie


·         All-purpose flour, for dusting
·         1/2 recipe Pate Brisee
·         1 large whole egg, lightly beaten, plus 4 large egg yolks
·         6 to 8 medium-ripe bananas
·         3 cups whole milk
·         2/3 cup granulated sugar
·         5 tablespoons cornstarch
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1 cup heavy cream
·         2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar 

1.  Step 1
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to a 12-inch round, a bit less than 1/4 inch thick. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, trim crust so there's a 1/2-inch overhang all around. Fold under overhang so it extends slightly beyond edge of pie plate. Crimp edge as desired. Prick dough all over with a fork. Brush rim of dough with beaten egg. Chill pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
2.  Step 2
Line chilled pie shell with a round of parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges of crust just turn golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment. Return crust to oven, and continue baking until golden all over, 20 to 25 minutes more. Place pie shell on a wire rack to cool completely.
3.  Step 3
Prepare an ice bath; set aside. In a bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks; set aside. In a saucepan, whisk together milk, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a simmer (do not boil), and cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes.
4.  Step 4
Whisk a quarter of hot-milk mixture into egg yolks; whisk in remaining milk mixture. Strain into a clean saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until custard is thick and bubbles appear in center, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Set in ice bath until completely chilled, 30 to 35 minutes. (Filling can be kept in refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, up to 1 day.)
5.  Step 5
Cut 3 or 4 bananas into 1/4-inch slices, slightly on the bias. Beginning at the edge of the piecrust, arrange the slices in slightly overlapping rows. Cover with custard, using an offset spatula to smooth it into an even layer. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine cream and confectioners' sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Using a small offset spatula, spread the whipped cream on top of the custard. Refrigerate pie, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
6.  Step 6
Just before serving, cut 3 or 4 bananas into 1/4-inch slices, slightly on the bias. Beginning at the edge of the piecrust, arrange the slices in slightly overlapping rows on top of the whipped cream.

And for drinks we just had pink lemonade but I put them in ball jars with cute straws to make it look pretty.