Meals Made Easy: Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto with Herb Chicken Tortellini

Written by : Chris

Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto with Herb Chicken Tortellini

I will be the first to admit that I take shortcuts when it comes to meal preparation. And by shortcuts, I don’t mean I don’t cook. It’s quite the contrary. I cook dinner for my family nearly every night. A shortcut to me means that I take a prepared food, like BUITONI® pasta, and add fresh ingredients like seasonal vegetables and fruits to make it a complete meal that my entire family will enjoy. Lately I have been obsessed with making fresh pesto sauces.

“Pesto” literally means to pound or crush, a reference to how the original pesto was prepared. I’ve found that a mortar and pestle produces the best pesto, but it also takes little more time. Therefore, I prefer to use a food processor so that the pesto is ready in a matter of minutes.

Pesto is typically made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and high-quality olive oil. But it’s fun to mix it up!

Kale Toasted Nut Pesto

Kale can be used in place of basil, and walnuts in place of pine nuts, as in this Kale & Toasted Nut Pesto (pictured above).

Pistachio Pesto

If you like pistachio nuts, I highly recommend this Pistachio Pesto (pictured above). Tossed with BUITONI® Spinach & Ricotta Tortelloni and tomatoes, it’s just heavenly!

Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto with Herb Chicken Tortellini

I happen to love sun-dried tomato pesto and make this Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto all the time (pictured above).  It’s rich and flavorful and oh-so easy! When added to BUITONI® Tortellini, it’s perfect for a weeknight meal!  It’s also great for entertaining. Just double or triple the recipe as needed.

Here’s the recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto with Herb Chicken Tortellini (to print, just click the link):

Ingredients for six 1-cup servings:

1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 8 sun-dried tomato halves)

1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Pinch ground black pepper

1/4 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil leaves for garnish

1 package (20 oz.) BUITONI Refrigerated Herb Chicken Tortellini 

Directions:

ADD sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper to food processor; process until finely chopped. Gradually add oil; process until combined. Add cheese; pulse to combine.

PREPARE pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup cooking water. Toss pasta with pesto and ¼ cup reserved cooking water. Thin with additional water, if desired. Garnish with basil.

Cook’s Tips: Made in advance and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator, this pesto should last for up to 1 week. If you want to freeze the pesto, omit the cheese since it doesn’t freeze too well. Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and them remove the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When ready to use, defrost, then stir in cheese.

So what are your latest cooking obsessions?

All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

Related Recipes:

Spinach and Ricotta Tortelloni Arugula Pesto
Spinach & Ricotta Tortelloni Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula & Pine Nuts Arugula Pesto with Cheese & Roasted Garlic Tortelloni Over Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes

Pumpkin Pie 201: LIBBY’S® Pumpkin has you covered!

Written by : Chris

Libby's Pie 201

Thanksgiving is a time for sharing and a day to create lasting memories. It’s a day celebrated with loved ones around great food. But let’s be honest. When it comes to the food, it’s all about the pie. I mean, Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie just wouldn’t feel right! After all, it is THE quintessential Thanksgiving dessert.

99096AD_C_r1_NCC-PUM-M51835C.indd

The classic LIBBY’S® Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe (pictured above) has been on the can since 1950. That’s a long time!  It’s been a standing tradition in my family that I make the pie for our gatherings. Having made hundreds of pumpkin pies both personally and professionally, I guess it’s fitting.

  Libbys Pumpkin Pie Ingredients

Each year, I like to try something a little different. Last year, I made a whole-grain crust (ingredients pictured above) which included flaxseed and orange zest. Total homerun!

This year, I will be making the crust from scratch. I will likely go the all-butter route because it produces such a flaky crust.  If you prefer to use shortening in your crust, here’s a great recipe to follow. In a pinch, you can also use a ready-made pie shell.

Libby's Pumpkin Pie

I’ve heard that for some, transferring the pie shell to the pie dish can be a little intimidating. It shouldn’t be; it’s actually quite easy. Check out the image above for how to do it. Once your dough has been rolled, simply fold it in half lengthwise, the fold it again and transfer it to your pie plate. Unfold the shell in the plate and then gently press it into the plate.

Libby's Pumpkin Pie

You should have a little dough overhang around the edges. Turn that under so that you have an elevated edge for crimping. I find fluting a pie crust to be incredibly therapeutic! It’s actually my favorite part of pie making!

Step 3

Step 4

And you can get super creative!  A clean key is used above to crimp the crust. You could also use the decorative edge of a spoon or fork.

Step 5

Let’s talk pumpkin pie filling! The recipe on the can is top-notch! So I always use this as my base, then add to it or make simple substitutions. My favorite addition is bourbon (shown in the image above).  The booze is baked, so don’t worry, it loses its edge. I also like to use light brown sugar in place of granulated.  The bourbon and brown sugar just add a little more depth to the pie. Here’s the Bourbon Pumpkin Pie recipe.

Step 6

Ok, now we are ready for the grand finale! We can’t forget the whipped cream. Straight up whipped cream is just fine! But seeing we are in the celebrating spirit, let’s kick it up. I love to add fresh citrus to my whipped cream. For every 1 cup of whipping cream, I beat in about 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice, 2 tablespoons granulated or powdered sugar and a teaspoon or so of freshly grated orange zest. If you aren’t a citrus fan, try liqueur! Start with 1 tablespoon bourbon, rum or brandy (you can always add more) along with 3 tablespoons of brown, granulated or powdered sugar.  A small amount of liqueur really elevates the flavor of whipped cream!

libby's

This week (Wednesday and Thursday), we are hosting #LibbysPie201 on our LIBBY’S® Pumpkin Facebook page, our second annual event in preparation of our favorite day of the year. We will be sharing exclusive tips, tricks, recipes and advice on creating the perfect pumpkin pie. Click over and join the fun!

From our kitchens to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland, or are used with permission.

Related Recipes:

lighter libby's pumpkin pie 100 Calorie Pumpkin Pie
Lighter  LIBBY’S® Pumpkin Pie
100 Calorie Pumpkin Pie Tartlets

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with Our Delicious Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake

Written by : Chris

Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake Finished

July is National Ice Cream Month, so it’s the perfect time to share this Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake Recipe with you!

Traditional tiramisu is a light-as-air chilled dessert that consists of ladyfingers dipped in a coffee-liqueur mixture, then layered with mascarpone and grated chocolate. While it’s absolutely heavenly, we wanted something a bit more refreshing for summer.

Seeing that we have a fascination with frozen layered cakes, we thought we’d put a frozen, layered spin on traditional tiramisu. So in this recipe, you will find the traditional tiramisu ingredients, but we are substituting light vanilla ice cream for mascarpone.

Ladyfingers are small, finger-shaped sponge cakes available in two forms – crisp and soft. They can be found in most grocery stores as well as specialty markets. Crisp ladyfingers absorb the espresso-liqueur mixture really well without becoming mushy so that is what we prefer to use.

Before assembling this tiramisu cake, it’s essential to soften your ice cream. The best way to do this is by placing it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, then scoop it into a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.  This way it is universally smooth before spreading over the soaked ladyfingers.

View our Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake Recipe now on Meals.com!

Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake Ingredients

Ingredients for 8 servings:

•Plastic wrap or parchment paper

•3 NESCAFÉ DOLCE GUSTO Espresso Intenso capsules, brewed according to package directions (1.7 fl. oz. each)

•1/4 cup coffee liqueur, brandy or dark rum

• 1 package (6.17 to 7 oz.) crisp ladyfingers (package size varies by manufacturer)

•1 carton (1.5 quarts) Vanilla Bean DREYER’S or EDY’S SLOW CHURNED Light Ice Cream, softened

•3/4 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Morsels, chopped, divided

•2 tablespoons NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa

Directions:

Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake Step 1

LINE an 8-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper, leaving a 3-inch overhang.

Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake Step 2

COMBINE espresso and liqueur in a shallow dish. Dip one-third of ladyfingers into mixture and place in bottom of prepared pan.

Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake Step 3

LAYER one-third of ice cream over top; sprinkle with ¼ cup morsels. Repeat layers 2 more times.

Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake Step 4

FOLD plastic wrap overhang over top of cake and freeze overnight.

Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake Finished

To serve, lift cake from pan using plastic wrap overhang. Remove plastic wrap. Dust top of cake with cocoa powder. Slice into 1-inch slices.

Kitchen Tips:

1 package (3 to 3 1/2 oz.) soft ladyfingers can be used in place of crisp, but be sure to dip, not soak in the espresso liquid.

Here is the Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake nutrition information. The slices are generous in size, so they can easily be cut in half making 16 servings total (this is what we do!).

Cheers!

All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

Related Recipes:

Lemon Spring Tart Chai Tea Latte Ice Cream
Ice Cream Sandwich Terrine
Chai Tea Latte Ice Cream

How to Make Easy Lemon Bars with Sweetened Condensed Milk

Written by : Chris

easy lemon bars image 1 400

Freshen up spring celebrations with these simple, sweet and vibrant lemon bars! Lemon bars are a classic American dessert composed of a shortbread crust topped with a simple, tangy lemon filling.

We’ve simplified the traditional recipe by using sweetened condensed milk. So once you make the crust, all you need to do is whisk together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, fresh lemon juice and lemon peel. It couldn’t be easier!

Here’s the recipe for Easy Lemon Bars:

easy lemon bars image 2 400

Ingredients for 20 bars:

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Line 8-inch-square baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

BEAT butter, powdered sugar and salt in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour on low speed just until combined (mixture will be crumbly). Press dough onto bottom of prepared pan.

BAKE for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden.

WHISK together egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon peel until smooth. Pour over crust. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

REFRIGERATE for 2 hours or until firm. Using foil overhang, lift onto a work surface; cut into 20 bars. Dust with additional powdered sugar before serving. Squares will hold, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

easy lemon bars image 3 400

A few tips:
If you make the bars in advance, don’t dust with powdered sugar. Only do this right before serving.

To produce really clean slices, place the baking pan with lemon bars in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. Wipe the knife between cuts. If desired, trim away edges (I didn’t trim all the edges on the photo above, but I did freeze them).

For serving, place bars in individual paper cupcake liners. This way guests can easily help themselves and you don’t need to worry about dessert plates.

Happy spring!

All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

Related Recipes:

Lemon Spring Tart Ginger Bites with Zesty Lemon Sorbet
Lemon Spring Tart
Ginger Bites with Zesty
Lemon Sorbet

Stout Brownies for St. Patrick’s Day

Written by: Chris

Brownies 1

Beer in a brownie may seem unconventional, but the malt actually adds depth by intensifying the chocolate flavor. Stout and other dark beers are often described as having chocolate and coffee overtones, so this combination may not be too far-fetched. 

These brownies couldn’t be any easier to make. In fact, most of the ingredients you likely have on hand. And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you might even have stout!

Speaking of stout, if you want a more intensely flavored chocolate brownie, you can boil the stout to concentrate the flavors. To do this, place the stout (1/2 cup total) in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Allow it to cool a bit before adding to the chocolate mixture. I’ve made the brownies this way as well as straight from the bottle and loved both. You really don’t taste the stout in the brownies – it just intensifies the chocolate flavor and makes them a bit more fudge-like.

Here’s a look at the ingredients.

Brownies 2

Easy Dark Chocolate Stout Brownies

Ingredients needed for 16 brownies:

  • 1 2/3 cups (10-ounce package) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Morsels, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup stout beer
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:

Brownies 3

PREHEAT oven to 325° F. Line an 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan with foil leaving a 2-inch overhang. If you like thick brownies use an 8-inch pan.

Brownies 4

MELT 1 cup morsels and butter in large, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; stir until smooth.

Brownies 5

STIR in granulated sugar, beer, vanilla extract and salt with a whisk or wooden spoon. Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition.

Brownies 6

STIR in flour.

Brownies 7

FOLD in remaining 2/3 cup morsels. Spread into prepared baking pan.

brownies 8

BAKE for 38 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan; cut into bars. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

brownie final baked

Now if you are really pressed for time and want to try your hand with beer and brownies, you can use your favorite box mix brownie and replace the water with stout beer. I’d also recommend stirring in a half cup of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Morsels into the batter.

All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

Related Recipes:

Oven Irish Stew   Lucky You Mint Pie  
Oven Irish Stew
“Lucky You” Mint Pie

A Unique Use for Apple Juice

Written by: Chris

Every now and again I come across a recipe or creative way to use an ingredient that really gets me thinking – like infusing chocolate with herbs. Infusing chocolate isn’t new, but it certainly was when I created this  Chocolate Rosemary Tart nearly 10 years ago.  The flavors are pretty adventurous, so the recipe can be a hit or a miss (especially if you introduce it before the trend really takes off!).

So how about adding apple juice to savory recipes? I’ve added it to quinoa, chicken, salmon, and even beef empanadas. But I’ve never thought of adding it to tacos. So when this Tacos to Go recipe came through for testing, I couldn’t wait to dive in. Would it taste like apple? Would it be too sweet? What benefit could there be?

Tacos To Go Recipe

Apple juice is added to the skillet with lean ground turkey and cooked until the apple juice is nearly gone. The turkey takes on just a hint of sweetness, which complements the turkey perfectly. The apple juice adds moisture too, making it great for leftovers. So to answer my questions above, it’s not too sweet and it doesn’t taste like apple. The real benefits I see are the delicate flavor and the ability to keep the lean turkey moist.

For a delicious weeknight meal, simply serve in tortillas with assorted toppings. Or, take it on the go! For those of us who struggle with school lunches (that would be me), this is a wonderful solution!

Baked taco shell cups really hold up well in lunch boxes and kids absolutely love them. All you need to do is cut circles out of your tortillas, press into a muffin tin and bake. To keep the turkey filling hot, it’s best to preheat your thermos. Simply fill your thermos with piping hot water, put on the lid and seal it. Empty the thermos after letting it sit for several minutes, and then fill with the taco filling. Place all of the toppings in sealed containers with an ice pack. Easy peasy.

Here’s a look at the ingredients. I like to add a clove of finely chopped garlic when cooking the turkey, but this is completely optional.

Tacos To Go

Ingredients for 6 servings (2 taco cups per serving):

TACO FILLING

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • 1 cup Apple NESTLÉ® JUICY JUICE® 100% Juice

TACO SHELLS

  • 6 (8-inch) soft taco-size whole wheat flour tortillas
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Toppings of your choice: chopped tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa

Directions:
FOR TACO FILLING:
HEAT oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add turkey and bouillon; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink.

POUR apple juice over turkey. Increase heat to high; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook for 10 minutes until almost all of the juice is absorbed.

FOR TACO SHELLS:
PREHEAT oven to 400° F.

CUT tortillas into twelve 4-inch circles using a cookie cutter or the top of a glass. You will cut 2 circles out of each tortilla.

SPRAY a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Press tortilla circles into each cup.

BAKE for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden and crispy.

FILL taco shells with taco filling and your choice of toppings.

Short cut: instead of baking the taco shell, cut rounds out of a tortilla and serve like a soft taco.

Now it’s your turn. What unique uses for ingredients have you come across?

JUICY JUICE® is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland. 

Related Recipes:

Juicy Juice Apple Pork Chops Mixed Greens with Apple Vinaigrette
Juicy Juice Apple
Pork Chops
Mixed Greens with Apple
Vinaigrette
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,746 other followers

%d bloggers like this: