Tuesday, June 7, 2011


My first order of business today is to thank my wonderful daughters Andrea and Kimblerly for hosting a surprise 60th birthday party for me.. It was wonderful to see so many of my friends and family there so I want to thank you for all the lovely gifts and birthday wishes .. My biggest Thank You goes to my Best Girlfriend Marilyn and her husband Danny for letting my girls use their lovely home to host this party... the food was great and the weather was beautiful so everyone got to be outside and enjoy the view of our beautiful city from their balconies ..
Here is the menu for this week and like I had said earlier it is from last week

TUESDAY     Tortellini Spinach Bake in a Creamy Lemon Sauce
WEDNESDAY    Crockpot Sauerkraut Cocktail Meatballs 
THURSDAY     Grilled Pork Chops
FRIDAY.     Thai Chicken Pizza
12 oz bag  Cheese & Spinach Tortelini
4 oz bacon or pancetta, (about 4 strips bacon)*
3 cloves garlic, pressed in garlic press or finely minced
2 Tbs flour
2 C milk
¾ tsp kosher salt
⅛ tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dry basil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (1/2 tsp or more if you like spicy)
1 medium lemon
2 C loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
¾ C grated mozzarella cheese, divided
¾ C grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.
2. Place bacon in a medium sized skillet on the stove-top at medium-high heat. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest.
3. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about 1 minute. Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.
4. While sauce is heating, use a microplane grater or a fine-holed cheese grater to zest lemon. Then cut lemon in half and remove juice. Add 2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sauce. Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture. Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add sauce and gently stir to combine. Place pasta mixture in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup mozarella and 1/4 cup parmesan and also crumbled bacon.
6. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted and pasta is bubbly throughout. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
*I have added some shredded rotisserie chicken to this dish. Next time I wouldn't add as much basil, it was a little too much.

It is barbacue time so I thought I would post a video of how to butterfly a whole chicken to put on your barbacue grill..
If you do not want to do a rub on your chicken.. just cut slits in the skin and stuff in some sliced lemons and garlic gloves .....

Six more sleeps and I am on holidays for two weeks with Grumpy.. We are both so looking forward to this holiday.... traveling in the hotrod to California with 2 other couples and then the last week we are spending with friends at Cane Lake... I am still waiting for a little Fairy to come down into the dungeon and do all my orders but that just does not seem to be of happening...

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