Monday, April 12, 2010

Mac and Cheese

2 cups dry elbow macaroni
1 -2 cans Campbell's condensed Cheddar Cheese soup (I used 2 but had too much - it depends how creamy you like your mac n cheese)
1 cup shredded extra sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon margarine or butter - melted
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs (I made my own from whole wheat bread)

1. Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions.

2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray casserole/baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, if desired.

3. For quicker prep, while macaroni cooks, combine cheddar cheese soup, milk, & pepper in a pot on stove top.

4. When cheese mixture is warm and well combined, sprinkle in 3/4 of the shredded cheddar cheese and stir until melted.

5. Add drained, cooked pasta into cheddar cheese sauce and toss/stir to coat.

6. Pour combination into casserole dish. Sprinkle top with remaining shredded cheddar cheese.

7. Combine melted margarine with breadcrumbs and sprinkle over top of mac n cheese .

8. Bake until hot & bubbling - approx. 20 minutes if sauce prepared on stove top.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cheesy Potatoes and Ham Casserole


1 package (2 lbs) frozen southern style hash browns (the cube ones)
2-3 cups shredded cheese (I like a Mexican blend, but plain cheddar would work too)
1 pint sour cream
2 cans cream of potato soup
2 tablespoons minced onion (or one packet of onion soup mix)
1/2 cup milk
1-2 ham steaks cut into small pieces/cubes


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat soup and cheese until cheese is completely melted in large saucepan.

Take off heat and add other ingredients (leaving a little cheese out to top).

Bake at 325 for at least 2.5-3 hours in covered, greased/buttered casserole dish.

Remove cover and sprinkle cheese on top.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until cheese on top is browned.

This makes a lot so I usually split the recipe in half before I put it in the oven. I put half in a disposable foil pan covered in foil and in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. The other half, I cook as the recipe says. To cook the frozen one, put it straight in the oven frozen and cook for 3 hours on 325.


Taco Soup

1lb ground beef
1pkg Ranch Dressing Seasoning
1pkg of Taco Seasoning
1 cup of water
Brown ground beef, drain. Add seasonings mixes and water, simmer for a couple of minutes.
Then add:

1 can Rotel
1 can Corn
1 can Kidney Beans
1 can Pinto Beans
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1/4 small yellow onion diced
Let simmer. The longer you let it simmer the better it is!


Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake


1-1/2 cups multi-grain penne pasta, uncooked
1 pkg. (9 oz.) fresh spinach leaves (you can sub frozen- I've done it and it's fine)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 jar (14-1/2 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese


HEAT oven to 375ºF.

COOK pasta as directed on package, adding spinach to the boiling water the last minute.

COOK and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 3 min. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomatoes; bring to boil. Simmer on low heat 3 min. or until chicken is done. Stir in Neufchatel.

DRAIN pasta mixture; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Spoon into 2-qt. casserole or 8-inch square baking dish.

BAKE 20 min.; top with remaining cheeses. Bake 3 min. or until mozzarella is melted.


Pork Chops with Apples and Stuffing

This sounds weird, but it is so yummy.


1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 can (21 oz.) apple pie filling
6 boneless pork loin chops (1-1/2 lb.), 3/4 inch thick


Heat oven to 375ºF.

Prepare stuffing as directed on package.

Spread pie filling onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with chops and stuffing. Cover with foil.

Bake 40 min. or until chops are done (160ºF), removing foil after 30 min.


Italian Sausage and Pasta Bow


3-1/2 cups farfalle (bow-tie pasta), uncooked
4 Italian sausage links (1 lb.), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 green peppers, cut into chunks
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese


Cook pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, cook sausage and peppers in large skillet on medium-high heat 15 min., turning sausage for even browning. Add sauce; cover. Cook on medium heat 10 min. or until heated through.

Drain pasta; mix with sausage and peppers in skillet. Sprinkle with cheese.


Bruschetta Chicken


1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.

Layer chicken, basil and cheese in 3-qt. casserole or 13x9-inch baking dish.

Top with stuffing. Bake 30 min. or until chicken is done.


Pulled Pork (Crock Pot) Recipe



4 lbs pork roast (shoulder or butt)
2 large onions
1 cup ginger ale
1 (18 oz) bottle favorite barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's)
Extra barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)


1. Slice one onion and place in crock pot.

2. Put in the roast and cover with the other onion, sliced. Pour over the ginger ale. Cover and cook on LOW for about 12 hours.

3. Remove the meat, strain and save the onions, discard all liquid. With two forks, shred the meat, discarding any remaining fat, bones or skin. Most of the fat will have melted away.

4. Return the shredded meat and the onions to the crock pot, stir in the barbecue sauce. Continue to cook for another 1 hour on LOW – or until heated thoroughly.

5. Serve with hamburger buns or rolls and additional barbecue sauce. Any leftovers freeze very well.

TIP: freeze ready-made sandwiches - a scoop of meat on a bun, well-wrapped. These make a great quick meal or snack. To reheat, remove wrapping, wrap in a paper towel, and zap 1-2 minute in the microwave.

Note: Shoulder or butt are recommended because the meat shreds very well. Other cuts do not shred as readily. It is a fattier cut, but the fat melts away in the cooking and is poured away when you discard the liquid.


Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Serve right away- these lose their heat quickly. But they are so yummy. Goes great with steak.


8 (about 1 1/2 pound) plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Core tomatoes; halve each lengthwise. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; toss with olive oil, dried thyme, coarse salt, and ground pepper until coated.

2. Arrange in a single layer, cut sides up. Bake until soft, about 30 minutes.


Zucchini Pie

This is a family favorite. It is like a quiche. I add lots more veggies, like red peppers, carrots, and spinach when I want my son to get lots of vegetables.


3 cups zucchini, diced
1 onion, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk baking mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
ground black pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 10x6 inch pan or a 12 inch pie plate.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine zucchini, onion, eggs, buttermilk baking mix, vegetable oil, Parmesan cheese, marjoram, parsley and pepper; mix well. Spread into the prepared baking dish.

3. Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly brown.


Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas


Coarse salt and ground pepper
12 ounces fettuccine
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
2/3 cup heavy cream (half and half or light cream work just as well, and are healthier)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
8 slices prosciutto (about 4 ounces total), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, about 1 cup
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)


1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

2. Meanwhile, make sauce: In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat; add shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cream, peas, and prosciutto; bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer until peas are heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Pour sauce over pasta; add Parmesan, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add enough reserved pasta water to thin sauce as desired. Serve immediately; top with additional Parmesan, if desired.


Linguine with Turkey Sausage and Peppers


1 pound linguine
1 pound turkey sausage, casings removed
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 yellow (or red) bell peppers, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons arugula, torn
Coarse salt and ground pepper, for seasoning


1. Cook linguine. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta water; return pasta to pot.

2. Meanwhile, cook sausage and 2 tablespoons water in a large covered nonstick skillet over medium until fat renders, 5 minutes. Uncover; raise heat to medium-high. Brown sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, 7 minutes.

3. Add garlic, bell peppers, and 1/4 cup reserved pasta water; cook until peppers soften, 6 minutes. Add 3/4 cup pasta water and butter; swirl to combine.

4. Transfer to pot. Add arugula; season with salt and pepper. Toss; add more pasta water as desired. Serve.


Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples and Onions


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 medium red apples, halved and cored, each cut into 8 wedges
1 large red onion, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 pork tenderloins, (12 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat


Place one oven rack in top third of oven, and another rack in bottom third. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Make glaze: In a small saucepan, bring vinegar and maple syrup to a boil over high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture has reduced to 1/4 cup, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer 1 tablespoon to a small bowl for drizzling, and set aside. Reserve the rest of the glaze in saucepan.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss apples and onion with oil. Season with salt and pepper; arrange in a single layer, and roast until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and toss.

Meanwhile, line another rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; place pork on foil. Season generously with salt and pepper; brush with glaze from saucepan. Return apples and onion to oven, on bottom rack. Place pork on top rack; roast 10 minutes. Remove pork from oven; brush with glaze (discard any remaining in pan). Roast until pork registers 150 degrees.on an instant-read thermometer, and apples and onion are tender, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer pork to a cutting board, and let rest 10 minutes. Slice 1/4 inch thick; drizzle with reserved tablespoon glaze. Serve with apples, onion, and, if desired, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes.


Italian Potpies

This is the original recipe. It is an Italian version of a Shepard's Pie. You can make the meat mixture ahead of time and freeze it (its has a similar consistency to chili) then make the topping the day of. An even faster way to do this is to use Bisquick and doctor it up with Parmesan cheese and herbs.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound ground beef sirloin, thawed if frozen
2 cups homemade or best-quality store-bought tomato sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup whole milk


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beef, and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce; bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, Parmesan, baking powder, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; make a well in center, and add butter and milk. Stir just until dough comes together.

3. Spoon meat mixture into four 8-ounce ramekins; mound dough on top. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet; bake until topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in topping comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes.