Mix up your typical pasta routine by infusing a variety of Tex-Mex inspired ingredients into your Italian based dish.  You'll love how perfectly these two cuisines marry together in order to create a delightfully inventive dinner for two. 

Mexican Stuffed Shells
Total Time: 50 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

What you'll need
1/2 pound lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
1/2 packet taco seasoning
2 ounces cream cheese
7-8 jumbo pasta shells
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup taco sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
2 scallions, finely chopped
sour cream for garnish

Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. In a medium skillet over medium heat brown ground beef until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
3. Add taco season packet and water; cook according to directions.   
4. Stir in cream cheese; cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Mix well. Set aside and let cool.
5. While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to directions; drain. 
6. Set shells out individually on cutting board/baking sheet so that they don’t stick together. 
7. Pour salsa on bottom of a small baking dish.  Stuff each shell with the meat mixture and sprinkle with cheese on top.  
8.  Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
9. Top with your favorite condiments (sour cream, salsa, olives, cilantro).   
10. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from  A Pinch of This A Pinch of That
 
 
Enjoy, what is hopefully a relaxing Sunday evening, with a comforting bowl of Chicken and Broccoli Bake.  Between the homemade cream sauce and the buttery Ritz Cracker topping, you can rest assured that this casserole dish is comfort food at its best. 

Chicken and Broccoli Bake
Total Time: 45 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

What you'll need
1/2 pound fresh broccoli, cut into florets and steamed for 2 minutes
2 cups cooked chicken breasts, diced or 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tube Ritz Crackers
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk

 Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a small greased baking dish, layer the broccoli and chicken, then set aside.
3. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 3 tablespoons of melted butter, cornstarch dissolved in water, chicken broth, seasonings, and milk; mix well.
4. Continue stirring until sauce has thickened. Turn heat down to low, and add 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.
5. Pour sauce over the chicken and broccoli. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.
6. Crush Ritz crackers in a large zip-lock bag with a rolling pin (Be careful not to crush them too small). Add crumbs to the remaining melted butter (about 1 tablespoon); mix well. 
7. Sprinkle cracker crumbs over the top of the shredded cheese.
8. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes, or until hot & bubbly.
9. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Get Off Your Butt and Bake
 
 
Treat yourself to a light and decadent Sunday dinner with today's recipe for two -- Maple and Soy Glazed Salmon.  The savory and sweet glaze is the icing on the cake for this seafood sensation.  Enjoy and have a great Sunday!

Maple and Soy Glazed Salmon
Total Time: 20 minutes + 20 minutes to marinate
Prep: 5 minutes + 20 minutes to marinate
Cook: 15 minutes

What you'll need
2 skinless salmon fillets 
1/2 cup uncooked couscous

For the Marinade
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons white wine (if you don’t have white wine on hand, you can add water to help thin out the marinade a bit)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix marinade ingredients together.  Divide marinade; set one half of mixture aside, which will be used later to create the glaze.
3. Pat the salmon dry.  Pour the other half of the marinade into a container, and put salmon in flesh side down.  Seal and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
4. Cook couscous according to package directions.
5. Once salmon is done marinating, place each portion on a piece of foil and form a foil packet. Pour the leftover marinade over each piece of salmon, and seal up the packets.
6. Bake for 15 minutes.  Time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish.   
7. Meanwhile, place the leftover marinade in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  
8. Turn heat down and let simmer, stirring occasionally until the glaze thickens.  
9. Pour over salmon and couscous just before serving.  Enjoy!
 
 
Recently, I wandered over to the olive bar at my local grocery store, and it was here that I found the inspiration for today's featured recipe for two -- a fantastically light and flavorful Italian Salad!  

Keeping with the Italian theme, I'm serving my salad with a side of homemade bruschetta.  This recipe is easy to create, and it tastes as good as any restaurant bruschetta that I've ever purchased, just make sure you use fresh mozzarella for maximum quality and taste. 

One note about the salad, I picked up fresh olives, artichoke hearts and hearts of palm.  However, you can get these items pre-packaged if your local store does not have an olive bar or vegetable bar to choose from. 

Bruschetta
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes

What you'll need
3-4 roma tomatoes seeded and diced
3 basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1/2 French bread baguette, sliced into 1-inch thick pieces 
1/2 cup grated fresh mozzarella

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper; mix gently.  If you have time, let the tomatoes marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. 
3. Place french bread on a baking sheet: drizzle with olive oil; bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. 
4. Remove from oven and let cool.
5. Top with tomato mixture and fresh mozzarella. 
Italian Salad
Total Time: 10 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes

What you'll need
lettuce (I used romaine), as desired 
handful of green olives
1 cup artichoke hearts
1 cup hearts of palm
1 cup salami, diced 
Italian dressing 
parmesan cheese
 
Directions
1. In a large salad bowl, combine lettuce green olives, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm and salami.  
2. Add your favorite Italian dressing to salad as desired.  Toss well. 
3. Top with parmesan cheese before serving.  
4. Serve with bruschetta.  Enjoy!
 
 
With a title that contains beef, casserole and fried onions, I'm sure you can imagine how delectably comforting today's featured recipe is.  To be honest, there isn't much more than I can say about this dish other than, you've got to try this creamy, crunchy and hearty casserole delight. 

Note, while I've scaled the recipe down for two, this casserole does freeze well, so you can easily double, freeze and enjoy the leftovers at a later date. 

Beef Casserole Topped with Crispy Fried Onions 
Total Time: 55 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes

What you'll need
For the Casserole
1 cup uncooked medium sized shell pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 can (8 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 can cream of onion or cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 - 2 cups of French's French Fried Onions

For the side dish: Roasted Cauliflower
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. 
3. Use an oven safe skillet or grease a small casserole dish.
4. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet; saute onion and bell pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. 
5. Add garlic and cook another minute.  Stir in ground beef; cook, breaking up the meat, until browned. Drain off any excess fat if needed.  Add the cajun seasoning and mix well.  
6. Using a pair of kitchen shears, chop the stewed tomatoes (or you can used diced tomatoes if preferred) in the can and add to the skillet along with the tomato sauce; bring to a boil, reduce and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until reduced and thickened. 
7. Stir in the soup and pasta until well blended.
For the side dish
1. Place cauliflower in a plastic bag with olive oil, salt and pepper.  
2. Make sure bag is securely sealed.  Shake until cauliflower is evenly coated in oil and seasonings. 
3. Spread cauliflower onto a baking sheet
4. Bake cauliflower and casserole (covered) for 30 minutes.  
5. Remove and scatter French fried onions over the top of the casserole and return to the oven (uncovered) for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
6. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Deep South Dish
 
 
Skip the crowded restaurant scene this weekend and enjoy a gourmet dinner at home with today's flavor packed recipe for two.  You're going to love how the two-for-one marinade saves you time in the kitchen, yet still delivers an extra punch of flavor to both your protein and vegetables.  So you'll get the "wow" factor you crave, minus the fuss.

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Steamed Green Beans
Total Time: 35-40 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25-30 minutes

What you'll need:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)
1/2 pound pork tenderloin 
1/2 pound green beans
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic sauce, ginger, garlic, scallions, and orange zest; mix well.
3. Place pork tenderloin in a large plastic bag.  Pour marinade over the tenderloin; seal bag.  Let pork marinate in the refrigerator for a few minutes or up to an hour.  
4. Remove tenderloin and place in baking dish.  Set marinade aside. 
5. Bake pork for 25 to 30 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 160 degrees F. 
6. While tenderloin is cooking, place marinade and sesame oil in a medium skillet or Wok; bring to a boil. 
7. Add green beans and cover until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.   
8. Serve with pork.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from FoodNetwork.com