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Houston, TX
Just your atypical hispanic male living in the big city

Monday, June 25, 2012

Baked Squash and Penne

I do so love Italian Cuisine. If I could, I would have Italian all the time. The only problem is that if I eat too much of it, I would be back to being a rather big boy and I don't necessarily want that to happen. The only consolation is that I can have it in moderation. Again, like most things, I might make a big batch of something, but I will freeze it and enjoy it with a nice side salad.

Well for this go around, I wanted to make something fresh that would be rather good for you. We have a community garden out in the back of our place. We have okra and plenty of squash. Needless to say, we ended up having a bumper crop of both.


4 cups Spaghetti Sauce
2 tbsp basil
2 tbsp thyme
1 lb ground turkey
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 - 5 cups squash (zuchinni, yellow or other types)
1 medium onion
2 tbsp butter
1 16 oz bag penne pasta
2 cups italian cheese (mozzerella, parm and asiago)

Start by working with the 4 cups of Spaghetti Sauce. Now I had my own sauce that I had made. Either if you use Not Really Scratch made (Store bought) sauce or your own, you might need to add additional fresh basil and thyme to the sauce. This will add some extra is great. If need be add more salt and pepper to taste.


While the sauce is continuing to cook, start to cook the ground turkey. Cook the meat until its browned. After it has browned, place it into the spaghetti sauce. I like to add more white wine. Nothing like having a glass of wine while cooking!


Boil the water making sure that it is well salted. Once the pot is boiling, add the pasta. Make sure the pasta is cooked until tender. Drain the pasta making sure it is free of water. Place the pasta into the pasta dish.


Chop up the squash and half the onion. We have zuchinni, yellow and white acorn squash. In a pan with the pats of butter, lightly saute all of the squash and onion. Once it is well cooked, take off the eat and place off to the side.

Now add the squash to the cooked pasta. Lightly mix trying to avoid bruising the squash.


Now that you have the squash mixed with the penne pasta, you can start to add the spaghetti sauce to the pasta. Be sure to cover the sauce well over the penne.


Preheat the oven to 350. Cover the pasta dish with foil and place into the oven and allow to bake covered for about 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes are over, uncover the pasta dish and sprinkle the cheese over the pasta. Allow it to continue to cook until the cheese has melted.


I love this dish as it's rather light. We enjoy it with a nice side salad and some garlic bread. Of course like most things, I used food savers so I can enjoy it later on during the week.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Twiced Baked Potatoes

Sometimes it's great to enjoy a feel good comfort food for a Sunday dinner. Most of the time, as with most Sundays, I have to get ready for the work week. I always like to enjoy a great Sunday dinner with either a steak, chicken or pork loin.

Well, this recipe, I actually learned from a close friend of mine. Ever since I learned to make this, I make a big batch of it and everyone seems to enjoy it. Hope you enjoy this simple recipe as well!


6 large baking potatoes
vegetable oil
1 lb bacon
2 cups butter
1 cup cheddar
1 cup monterrey jack
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar & monterrey jack
salt and pepper to taste

Before you start, preheat the oven at 375. While that is preheating, start washing the potatoes. I tend to just use my hands and rub my fingers around each potato.

With the vegetable oil, coat each potato and make sure that they are covered well.

Place the potatoes into the oven. Notice that I am not covering them with the foil like I normally would. This is a trick I actually learned from MC's mom. If you bake potatoes this way, you end up with a crispy skin around the potato. Allow this to bake for about 1 hour. Check to make sure its soft to the touch. I normally place a fork into the potato. Flip the potatoes and allow to cook another 30 minutes to an hour (or allow to cook until rather tender).

While the potatoes are baking, start prepping the other items. Dice the bacon and place into a well heated pan. Cook the bacon until crispy. Make sure you place the cooked bacon onto a paper towel covered plate allowing it to drain.


Take out the potatoes and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Slice each potato in halves. Notice it will be steaming hot. Allow to cool for an additional 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, place the butter. Start to scoop out the meat of each potato and place into the bowl. Make sure you have the skin intact. Mash the potatoes and butter until creamy.

Add the other ingredients to the potato and butter mixture. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture into each potato skin resembling a "potato boat".


Place the potatoes back into the oven and allow to bake for an additional 30 minutes at 375. At the last 10 minutes, place the cheese mixture on top of the potatoes and allow for it to melt.

This is a great side dish that can actually be frozen. Note that you will have plenty of leftovers, unless you have a large amount of friends who you are entertaining. We have a food saver and place into the freezer and enjoy it anytime. A decadent, but truly wonderful side!